The Ultimate Guide to Huntingdon Racecourse

HuntsHuntingdon Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of the village of Brampton, approximately 3 miles from the town of Huntingdon, in Cambridgeshire in the east of England. Horse racing in the vicinity of Huntingdon took place at Port Holme, on the southern outskirts of the town, between 1775 and 1906. Following World War I, the Huntingdon Steeplechase Group was formed and the racecourse moved to its present location west of Huntingdon at Brampton. Development of the racecourse really took off in 1953, when John Goodliff took over as Chairman of the Steeplechase Committee. Indeed, the open ditch in front of the stand at Huntingdon, completed in 1967, was christened the “Goodliff” in his honour. Nowadays, Huntingdon Racecourse hosts 18 National Hunt fixtures throughout the year.For racegoers at Huntingdon, general admission to the main enclosure costs £15, rising to £20 on Boxing Day. Huntingdon also offers what it calls “Jubilee” membership, whereby senior citizens can pay a one-off joining fee of £10 and receive a saving of £5 on the general admission price at each subsequent meeting they attend, for life. Admission is free for accompanied children.For corporate events such as conferences, exhibitions and meetings, Huntingdon Racecourse offers a purpose-built conference and events centre that is open all year round. In total, the venue offers four main suites and 14 smaller breakout, or syndicate rooms capable of accommodating groups of 10 or less right up to groups of 100 or more. The Cromwell Stand, completed in 2009 at a cost of £2.7 million, offers panoramic views of the racecourse and is home to the Cromwell Suite, which can accommodate 130 people for a sit down meal.[column width=”40%” padding=”5%”]

Getting there

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What's unique about the course at Huntingdon?

Hunts guide Huntingdon Racecourse is a right-handed oval, approximately a mile and a half around, with easy bends and no appreciable undulations. The course is, in fact, one of the fastest in the country, although the fences, of which there are nine per circuit, can cause problems for inexperienced steeplechases.The open ditch in front of the stands is notoriously tricky, as are the two fences in the home straight. Handy, front-running types traditionally do well at Huntingdon. [/column][end_columns]

Notable Races and Events

Edredon BleuThe most prestigious race of the year at Huntingdon is the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase, run over 2 miles 4½ furlongs in December. The race has become synonymous with the name of former West Lockinge trainer Henrietta, who won it eight times in 10 years between 1998 and 2007 with four different horses. Edredon Bleu was the most successful of the quartet with four consecutive wins between 1998 and 2001 and was followed by Best Mate in 2002, Impek in 2005 and Racing Demon in 2006 and 2007. Following his win in the Peterborough Chase in 1999, Edredon Bleu also won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in the same season.Other notable races at Huntingdon include the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, registered as the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle and the 32Red Juvenile Hurdle for the Chatteris Fen Trophy, both of which take place in February. The Jockey Club, which owns Huntingdon Racecourse, has invested heavily in prize money, such that the total prize fund for 2013 is nearly £750,000, or 80% higher overall than for 2012.Another race, which was the brainchild of the Huntingdon Racecourse executive, has grown significantly in popularity and status, since its inception in 1999. The Mascot Grand National, which was run at Huntingdon until 2010, was originally open to mascots of football and other sports teams, but was subsequently extended to include mascots from other, non-sporting fields and transferred to Kempton Park in 2012.AP McCoyHuntingdon Racecourse has, of course, seen many of the great National Hunt horses over the years. Aside from Edredon Bleu and Best Mate, who went on to become the first horse since the legendary Arkle to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in three consecutive seasons, other visitors to the Huntingdon winners' enclosure include Master Oats, winner of the 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup and Rooster Booster, winner of the 2003 Champion Hurdle. Rough Quest, winner of the 1996 Grand National, recorded his first career win in a novices' chase at Huntingdon in 1991 and Speaker Weatherill, winner of the 1998 Great Yorkshire Chase, did likewise in 1996.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Tony McCoy is the most successful jockey at Huntingdon during the last five seasons with 33 winners from 136 rides and holds an appreciable lead over his nearest rival, Richard Johnson, with 23 winners from 122 rides. Nicky Henderson, with 43 winners from 116 runners, is also some way ahead of his nearest rival, Alan King, with 31 winners from 159 runners at the top of the trainers' table for the same period, while John Patrick “J.P.” McManus is far and away the most successful owner with 18 winners from 107 runners.

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