The Ultimate Guide to Newmarket Racecourse

Newmarket Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of the town of Newmarket, Suffolk, on the border with Cambridgeshire and is approximately 60 miles from London. The history of racing at Newmarket can be traced back to 1662 and flourished under the patronage of the Stuart monarchs, James I, Charles I and, particularly, Charles II.

Indeed, the Rowley Mile Course, one of two courses at Newmarket, is named after Charles II, who was popularly known as “Rowley” or “Old Rowley”. The oldest surviving part of his royal residence, Palace House, can still be found in the heart of Newmarket. Today, Newmarket is the headquarters of British Flat racing and its two courses – the other one being known as the July Course – between them host a quarter of the Group 1 races run in Britain each year.

For racegoers, both the Rowley Mile and July Courses offer a choice of premier, grandstand and paddock enclosures. The Rowley Mile Course is the less expensive of the two, with admission prices of £25 for the Premier enclosure and £16 for the Grandstand and Paddock, as opposed to £29 for the Premier enclosure and £21 for the Grandstand and Paddock on the July Course. In both cases, there are concessions for senior citizens and students and free admission for accompanied children.

For corporate events, Newmarket Racecourse offers everything from small hospitality boxes capable of accommodating up to 30 people to large conference rooms capable of accommodating up to 300 people. All the indoor facilities are comfortable and fully equipped, the Millennium Grandstand was designed with conferences, exhibitions and meetings in mind and there are acres of outdoor space, so Newmarket Racecourse lends itself to a wide variety of uses.
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Getting there

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What makes the Newmarket Racecourse so special?

The Rowley Mile Course, where racing takes place during the spring and autumn, is characterised by “The Bushes”, between the two and three furlong markers, after which the course runs downhill for the penultimate furlong and uphill for the final furlong, forming “The Dip.” The straight on the Rowley Mile Course is 10 furlongs long, with longer races starting on the Beacon Course – originally 4 miles long and used for matches – and turning into the straight.

The July Course, where racing takes place during the summer, features a one mile straight known as “The Bunbury Mile” after Sir Charles Bunbury, who is credited with introducing summer racing over the course. The July Course runs downhill after two furlongs and then uphill for the final furlong. Races over further than a mile once again start on the Beacon Course.

The legend that is Frankel. (credit: CharlesFred)

Notable Races

On the first weekend in May each year, the Rowley Mile Course hosts the first two Classic races of the season, the 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas. The 2,000 Guineas, first run in 1809, is confined to 3-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies only. The longest-priced winner of the 2,000 Guineas was George Boyd's Rockavon, who started at 66/1 in 1961. By contrast, the shortest-priced winner was Alfred Hayhoe's St. Frusquin, who went off 12/100, or approximately 1/8, favourite in 1896.

By far the most notable winner of the 2,000 Guineas in recent years was Frankel, owned by Prince Khalid Abdulla and trained by Sir Henry Cecil, who went on to win another eight races, all at Group 1 level and retired at the end of the 2011/12 Flat season as officially the highest-rated horse ever on the Flat.

The 1,000 Guineas is run over the same course and distance as the 2,000 Guineas, but is restricted to 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies only. The inaugural running took place in 1814, five years after the inaugural running of the 2,000 Guineas. The longest-priced winner of the 1,000 Guineas was George Lambton's Ferry, who started at 50/1 in 1918, although Sir Henry Cecil's Jacqueline Quest was first past the post at 66/1 in 2010 only to be demoted to second place in the stewards' room. The shortest-priced winner was John Barham Day's Crucifix, who started at prohibitive odds of 1/10 in 1840.

Frankie Dettori (credit: LeeBailey)

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

On the Rowley Mile Course, Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey of recent years, with 37 winners from 223 rides during the last five seasons. Godolphin is the leading owner in that period, with 42 winners from 266 runners and Richard Hannon is the leading trainer, with 40 winners from 319 runners.

On the July Course, Ryan Moore takes top spot amongst the jockeys, with 31 winners from 171 rides, while Godolphin and Richard Hannon are, once again, the leading owner and trainer, with 49 winners from 241 runners and 41 winners from 307 winners, respectively.

It's also worth noting that Godolphin runners on the July Course have recorded a very healthy level stakes profit of 54.03 points during the last five seasons.

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