The Ultimate Guide to Brighton Racecourse

BrightonBrighton Racecourse is situated approximately one mile to the northeast of the centre of the major seaside resort of Brighton, in the county of Sussex in south-eastern England. Set high on the South Downs, overlooking the city and the English Channel, Brighton Racecourse enjoys one of the most picturesque settings of any course in the country. The first official race meeting in Brighton took place in 1783, although the racecourse didn't move to its current location until 1822. The course originally extended an extra half a mile across what is now East Brighton Golf Club but, barring interruptions for World War I and World War II, racing has taken place on the same site ever since. Brighton Racecourse underwent refurbishment, at a cost of £4 million, in 1998 and is now part of the largest racecourse group in the country, Arena Racing Company.

For racegoers, Brighton Racecourse offers a choice of the Premier Enclosure, at £25 per person and the Grandstand & Paddock, at £20 per person. In both cases, concessions are available for senior citizens and students and admission is free for accompanied children. Like all the other Arena Racing Company racecourses, Brighton offers two premier badges for the price of one to all servicemen at all meetings.

In terms of corporate facilities, Brighton Racecourse offers a variety of flexible indoor and outdoor spaces capable of accommodating up to 1,000 people at a time. Conferences, exhibitions and meetings are all amply catered for, as well as larger, outdoor events, such as barbeques, drinks receptions and parties. Free car parking for over 1,500 vehicles is available, together with free Wi-Fi access across the entire site and an experienced events team is on hand to make sure corporate events run smoothly.

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Getting there

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What's unique about the course at Brighton?

Brighton draw
Brighton is a left-handed, undulating, sharp track in the shape of a horseshoe approximately a mile and a half in length. The mile and a half start is the lowest point of the course and there is an uphill climb from the two furlong marker to the winning post, which is the highest point.

The pronounced undulations and camber towards the inside of the track throughout the three and a half furlong straight means that Brighton is better suited to handy, nimble horses than their big, long-striding counterparts.

Indeed, the idiosyncrasies of the track tend to produce course specialists, so it's worth noting horses with previous winning form. Brighton is one of the few racecourses in the country that is not a complete circuit, so races beyond a mile and a half are a physical impossibility. There is no obvious draw bias at Brighton.

Notable Races and Events

Frozen OverBrighton Racecourse currently plays host to a total of 21 fixtures a year, the most notable of which is the three-day August Festival. The highlights of the August Festival include the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy, run over 7 furlongs 214 yards on the opening day and the Brighton Challenge Cup, run over 1 mile 3 furlongs 196 yards on the following day, known as Ladies Day.

In 2012, the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy was won by Stuart Kittow's 4-year-old Frozen Over, ridden by Mickael Barzalona. Stuart Kittow, based at Blackborough in Devon, had previously trained just one winner a Brighton, Dancing Storm back in 2007. On Ladies Day in 2012, with visibility reduced to less than a furlong, on occasions, by fog rolling in off the English Channel, jockey Darryl “Dazzler” Holland rode a 4,142/1 four-timer, which included 14/1 winner of the Brighton Challenge Cup, Ethics Girl. The 6-year-old mare's victory was cause for celebration by Newmarket trainer John Berry and Brighton-born co-owner Lawrence Wadey who, jointly, had been trying to win the Brighton Challenge Cup for many years.

Seb SandersAnother notable performance at the 2012 August Festival was that of Ronald Harris' 4-year-old Prodigality, who travelled well to win the Brighton Bullet Handicap, over 6 furlongs, by 2 lengths under 5lb claimer Darren Egan. Prodigality was a beaten favourite in the prestigious Portland Handicap, over 5 furlongs 140 yards, at Doncaster later in the season and went up 18lb in the handicap between August and his final start of the season in October.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Seb Sanders is the leading jockey at Brighton over the last five seasons with 25 winners from 120 rides, six winners ahead of Chris Catlin with 19 winners from 129 rides.

Godolphin is the leading owner in the same period with 9 winners from 28 runners, although the Maktoum family's private stable is only one ahead of Dr. Marwan Koukash with 8 winners from 13 runners and a remarkable 62% strike rate. In terms of the number of winners trained, David Evans leads the way with 20 winners from 148 runners, although Richard Hannon, with 17 winners from 58 runners and David Simcock, with 17 winners from 50 runners, both have higher strike rates.

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