Exeter Racecourse is situated on Haldon Hill, where it is surrounded by the idyllic Devonshire countryside. The course is widely regarded to be one of the fairest National Hunt racecourses in England and regularly attracts runners from a wide range of stables. This means that race meetings often feature competitive fields.
The fixture list usually starts in October and finishes in May, and racegoers can take advantage of excellent dining and hospitality facilities. The race that Exeter is most famous for is the Haldon Gold Cup, with several winners going subsequently winning the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Below are some key facts about Exeter Racecourse.
Course Type: Jumps
Current Owner: Jockey Club Racecourse
Exeter is a lovely galloping right-handed track that many trainers run their horses at to gain experience of racing up and downhill. The circuit measures around two-miles, with the course hosting chases of up to four-miles. The fences are very fair and Exeter is seen as a perfect track for novice chasers to get their eye in at an early stage of their careers.
The course has eleven fences to each circuit, with four fences in the home straight, which measures around half-a-mile. There is a run-in of 170 yards after the final fence. The ground is often better than at many similar National Hunt venues, though it can still get very heavy in mid-winter. When it does ride heavy, the emphasis is firmly on stamina, with many horses failing to finish their races strongly up the stiff finish.
The Haldon Gold Cup is Exeter Racecourse’s flagship-race. The race is named after the hill on which the course stands and it is run over 2 miles 1½ furlongs. The role of honour is a spectacular one, and includes the likes of Very Promising, Barnbrook Again, Panto Prince, Sabin du Loir, Waterloo Boy, Travado, Viking Flagship, Flagship Uberalles, Best Mate, Edredon Bleu, Azertyuiop, Cue Card, Somersby, and Politologue.
The Best Mate Beginners Chase is another race that looks sure to grow in stature over the coming seasons and, of course, is named after triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate. The last two winners have been Old Guard and Yanworth. The course also stages the Devon National in February.
Exeter Racecourse doesn’t operate a formal dress code, though it does encourage racegoers to dress up rather than dress down, with smart casual the order of the day. However, the course also urges racegoers to consider the weather forecast. Sensible fancy dress costumes are also welcome, but anyone wearing anything that may be considered offensive will be asked to remove it or may be refused admission.
Three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate sadly died of a heart-attack after being pulled-up at Exeter Racecourse on November 1, 2005. He had earlier won on each of his three previous visits to Exeter, including the 2001 Haldon Gold Cup.
Exeter Racecourse was once renowned for being the scene of infamous duels. The last recorded duel to take place at the racecourse was in 1833. It took place between Sir John Jeffcott and Peter Hennis, with Hennis being wounded and later dying. Jeffcott was subsequently forced to flee to Sierra Leone.
Address and Contact Details
Exeter Racecourse, Kennford, Exeter, Devon, EX6 7XS