The Ultimate Guide to Plumpton Racecourse

PlumptonPlumpton Racecourse nestles at the foot of a range of chalk hills, known as the South Downs, in the county of East Sussex in South East England, approximately 14 miles from Brighton. Plumpton Racecourse was established as a hare coursing venue by Thomas Case in 1876, but didn't stage its first horse racing meeting until 1884.

The South Downs Hunt moved its annual meeting to Plumpton in 1901 and continued its support until the outbreak of World War I. Since the end of World War II, Plumpton Racecourse has undergone many improvements, especially under the patronage of Isidore Kerman, who bought the course in 1961 and Adrian Pratt and Peter Savill, who bought it in 1998, to ensure its survival. Nowadays, Plumpton Racecourse is one of the smaller National Hunt venues in the country, but still stages 16 fixtures throughout the year.

For racegoers, Plumpton Racecourse offers the choice of the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure and the Picnic Enclosure, although the Picnic Enclosure is only open on selected dates. Admission to the Grand & Paddock Enclosure is priced at £16 for midweek meetings and £18 for “feature” meetings, with concessions for senior citizens. Admission to the Picnic Enclosure, where applicable, is priced at £10. Admission is free for accompanied children.

For corporate events, including dinners, exhibitions, meetings and training days, Plumpton Racecourse offers a range of flexible indoor spaces, including a marquee capable of accommodating up to 600 people. There's also plenty of outdoor space for displays and other structures and ample free parking. Plumpton railway station, which is served by a regular service from London Victoria, is less than five minutes' walk away from the racecourse entrances.

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Getting there

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What's unique Plumpton course like?

Plumpton Course
The course at Plumpton consists of a left-handed, sharp oblong, just 1 mile 1 furlong around, with tight bends and pronounced undulations throughout. The home straight is uphill all the way to the winning post, but the course is not particularly testing unless the going is heavy.

There are six, fairly stiff fences per circuit and a run-in of about a furlong. Typically, Plumpton suits handy, quick-jumping types.


Notable Races and Events

Double DizzyThe most prestigious race of the year at Plumpton is the At The Races Sussex National, a handicap chase run over 3 miles 5 furlongs in January and worth £9,136 to the winner. In 2012, Bob Buckler's 11-year-old won a dramatic renewal of the race, in which four of the nine runners fell, one unseated rider and one was pulled-up. Double Dizzy returned to defend his title in 2013, but could do no better than a well beaten third behind Gary Moore's 9-year-old Well Refreshed, ridden by the trainer's son Joshua.

On March 4, 1980, the Prince of Wales made his debut as a jockey in a charity race at Plumpton Racecourse. His mount, Long Wharf, started 13/8 favourite for the Mad Hatters Private Sweepstake over two miles, but was eventually beaten 2 lengths by Classified, ridden by TV presenter Derek Thompson.

On April 5, 1999, the water jump at Plumpton Racecourse was used for the final time. On the same day, the Joker Jack Retirement Chase was run to mark the final start of Joker Jack I, who ran in 99 races, 34 of them at Plumpton. Joker Jack I, himself, finished unplaced, as a 14-year-old, in the Hiscox Insurance Selling Handicap Chase on the same card.

Richard JohnsonOn February 9, 2009, Tony McCoy rode his 3,000th career winner at Plumpton Racecourse on Nicky Henderson's 7-year-old Restless D'Artaix in the Tyser & Co. Beginners' Chase.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Richard Johnson is the leading jockey at Plumpton over the last five seasons with 18 winners from 95 rides, although Noel Fehily with 16 winners from 53 rides and Robert Thornton with 15 winners from 40 rides are both hot on his heels.

Gary Moore, who trains less than 20 miles away from Plumpton Racecourse in Lower Beeding, West Sussex, understandably has more runners than any other trainer and, unsurprisingly, tops the trainers' table with 27 winners from 161 runners over the last five seasons. As is the case at many National Hunt courses in the country, John McManus is the leading owner over the last five seasons with 5 winners from 45 runners.

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