Lingfield Park Racecourse is situated on the southern outskirts of the village of Lingfield, Surrey in the south east of England, approximately 27 miles from London. Lingfield Park Racecourse was opened by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, in 1890 as a venue for jump racing only. However, the racecourse was granted permission for Flat racing just four years later and staged the first Derby trial in 1932. Lingfield Park also has the distinction of being the venue for the first all-weather racecourse in Britain. The original Equitrack course was opened in 1989, but was subsequently replaced with a Polytrack course in 2001. Arena Leisure plc, which acquired Lingfield Park in 1997, has invested £5.5 million in improvements to the racecourse and its facilities and, today, the course stages 80 Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year.
For racegoers, general admission prices at Lingfield Park vary season by season, from £16 per person between January and April, October and December and on summer weekdays between May and September to £21 for summer weekends between May and September. Concessions are available for senior citizens and admission is free for accompanied children.
For corporate events, such as banquets, conferences and meetings, Lingfield Park Racecourse offers a selection of flexible indoor and outdoor spaces. For larger events, the Pavilion Suite is capable of accommodating up to 450 people, but a total of 21 conference rooms, all with excellent natural daylight, plus a selection of syndicate rooms and private boxes overlooking the racecourse can create the perfect atmosphere for events large and small.
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What's unique about the course at Lingfield?
The round course, on turf, at Lingfield Park consists of a sharp, left-handed loop, about a mile and a half around, which joins the 7½-furlong straight about 4 furlongs from the winning post. The climb to the top of a slight hill and the downhill turn into the straight is reminiscent of Tattenham Corner at Epsom, which is one of the reasons the Derby Trial and Oaks Trial are run at Lingfield. The straight course is downhill all the way, especially for the first three furlongs or so, making it very easy.
The round course, on Polytrack, is inside the turf course and follows the same line along the straight and back straight. However, the turn into the straight is much sharper than on the turf course, reducing the overall circumference to a mile and a quarter. Sprint races, over five and six furlongs, are run around two bends, so the emphasis is very much on speed.
The Jumps course at Lingfield Park is a sharp, left-handed triangle with pronounced undulations, a tight, downhill turn into the straight and a short run-in. There are nine fences, or six hurdles, per circuit.
Notable Races and Events
The most prestigious and valuable race at Lingfield Park is the Group 3 Blue Square Bet Winter Derby, run over 1 miles 2 furlongs in March and worth £56,710 to the winner. The 2013 renewal was won by Roger Varian's 4-year-old Farraaj, who started 6/4 favourite to give the Newmarket trainer his first winner in the race.
Other notable races include the Listed International Trial Stakes, run over a mile in April and worth £20,983 to the winner. The 2013 renewal was won by Richard Hannon's Van Der Neer, who went on to finish third, beaten 7¼ lengths, behind Dawn Approach in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on his next start.
In 1920, a 16-year-old Gordon Richards, who later became Sir Gordon Richards, had his first ride in public at Lingfield on a horse named Clockwork in the October Nursery Handicap over 7 furlongs. Richards brought the horse on the train from Ogbourne, Wiltshire to Lingfield and walked him to the racecourse from the railway station. The pair finished unplaced, but Richards sufficiently impressed trainer Martin Hartigan and went on to ride 4,870 winners during his career.
Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers
On the Flat turf at Lingfield, Richard Hughes is the most successful jockey during the last five seasons with 14 winners from 61 rides. Mick Channon is the most successful trainer in the same period with 13 winners from 62 runners, although Richard Hughes' boss, Richard Hannon, is only one behind with 12 winners from 81 runners. The Maktoum family have a stranglehold on the owners' table, with Goldolphin and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, by himself, tied on 8 winners from 31 runners and 8 winners from 26 runners, respectively.
On the Flat all-weather, Jim Crowley is, by far, the leading jockey with 115 winners from 700 rides during the last five seasons. Mark Johnston, with 75 winners from 369 runners, also holds a healthy lead over his nearest pursuers, David Evans and Richard Hannon, in the trainers' table and Godolphin is, once again, the leading owner with 45 winners from 108 runners.
Over Jumps at Lingfield, Tom O'Brien is the leading jockey over the last five seasons with 9 winners from 16 rides, at a phenomenal strike rate of 56%. Gary Moore is the leading trainer with 9 winners from 70 runners and J.P. McManus is the leading owner with 3 winners from 31 runners in the same period.
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