Horse Racing has been taking place in Newcastle for over 300 years, with the current Newcastle Racecourse hosting horse racing at Gosforth Park since 1882.
The course stages both jumps and flat racing, with both originally taking place on turf. However, in 2016, the course unveiled a new tapeta all-weather flat track, which replaced the old turf track.
Big, local, fun-loving crowds are part and parcel of a day at Newcastle Races, and both the ladies and men like to dress to impress on the big occasions. They include the Northumberland Plate on the flat, whilst the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the Eider Chase are the highlights of the jumps season. However, the course stages around 60 meetings each season.
Meanwhile, many racegoers like to pay a visit to the Border Minstrel, an historic pub in the grounds of Gosforth Park which is named after the winner of the 1927 Northumberland Plate.
Below are some key facts about the Newcastle racecourse:
Course Type: Jumps and all-weather flat
Current Owner: Arena Racing Company
Jockeys will tell you that Newcastle is a very fair course, and this left-handed and galloping track is often compared to Newbury by national hunt jockeys. However, the long home straight here is slightly uphill, and horses really need to stay when the going gets soft. The fences are stiff but fair and, whilst there isn’t a particularly high number of fallers, this can partly be contributed to the fact that races are often steadily run here, with jockeys being keen to save something for the tough finish.
There were plenty of objections when Newcastle Racecourse announced its intention to replace its turf flat rack with an all-weather one, but Newcastle’s decision to make the change in the winter of 2015/16 has since been deemed a success. The oval-shaped track measures around 14 furlongs and stages races up to 2 miles and 77 yards. However, what attracts many trainers to run their horses here is the chance to run them on the straight Tapeta track in races up to a mile.
The first notable race of the flat season is the Burradon Stakes, a Listed Race which was introduced in 2017. Winners have included the high-class Forest Ranger and Gronkowski, with the latter going on to be a high-profile horse in America.
However, Newcastle Racecourse’s main flat meeting is its three-day Northumberland Plate Meeting in June. The highlights include the Gosforth Park Cup, the Chipchase Stakes, and the Northumberland Plate. The Gosforth Park Cup is a sprint handicap run over five furlongs, with winners including Copper Knight. Meanwhile, the Chipchase Stakes is a Group 3 Race run over six furlongs that has been won by the likes of Markaz, Koropick, and Above The Rest since it moved on to the tapeta.
The highlight of the whole flat season at Newcastle Racecourse is the Northumberland Plate, a horse that dates back to 1833, when it was known as the Pitmen’s Derby. It is run over two miles and is often branded as the Northern Hemisphere Melbourne Cup. Since it moved onto the all-weather, winners have included Antiquarium, Higher Power, and Withhold.
Newcastle’s jumps season really gets going when the course stages the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, which normally falls on the same Saturday as Newbury’s Ladbrokes Trophy Meeting. This prestigious race forms part of England’s Hurdle Triple Crown, with the winner having to go on and win the Christmas Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle to become a Triple Crown winner. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle has been won by notable winners such as Night Nurse, Comedy Of Errors, Sea Pigeon, Beech Road, Kribensis, Punjabi, My Tent Or Yours, and Buveur D’Air.
Meanwhile, the Eider Chase is regarded as a trial for the Grand National, as well as being a big race in its own right. Run over a stamina sapping 4 miles and 1 furlong, it was won by Comply Or Die in 2008 before that horse went on to win the Grand National in the same season.
If you have tickets for the Premier Enclosure of hospitality areas, smart casual is the dress code at Newcastle Racecourse. Collared shirts are a must for men, though smart jeans and tailored short are permitted. Trainers, sportswear, and fancy dress are not allowed. However, on feature race days such as the Northumberland Plate, the local crowd often dress up to make the day all that more special.
If you have tickets for the One Enclosure of the Grandstand, there is no dress code in operation. However, anyone wearing fancy dress outfits or other outfits that may cause offence will be refused admission.
Children do not have to adhere to any dress code in any enclosure.
Newcastle is the only all-weather racecourse in the United Kingdom on which races run over seven furlongs and a mile are run on a straight track.
Newcastle Racecourse, High Gosforth Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5HP
0191 236 2020