The Newmarket Racecourse is a British horse racing venue in the English market town of Newmarket, Suffolk. It consists of two individual racecourses, the Rowley Mile and the July Course and is most notable for hosting the Guineas Festival & the July Festival.
Founded: 1667 by Charles II of England
Course Type: Flat
Current Owner: Jockey Club
The Newmarket Racecourse consists of two course: The Rowley Mile Course (named after Old Rowley, the favourite horse of King Charles II who founded the track) and the July Course.
Both courses are wide, galloping tracks used solely for flat racing. Each of the two courses has a capacity of just over 20,000 however this is rarely met except during the major festivals.
The Rowley Mile has a 1 mile 2 furlong straight with little undulations before reaching The Bushes 2 furlongs from the winning post. It’s then the infamous Dip which consists of 1 downhill furlong followed by the final uphill furlong.
The July course (or Summer course) has a 1 mile straight often referred to as The Bunbury Mile. After 2 furlongs, the straight runs downhill before the final uphill furlong to the winning post.
Both courses can run longer distance which involve the Cesarewitch/Beacon turning right into the relevant straights.
Most race courses are notable for a selection of races throughout the year and Newmarket is no different with a whole range of exciting races during the flat racing season. These include:
Guineas Festival: Possibly one of the most glamorous dates in the international racing calendar where the highest calibre sportsmen compete for the first 2 classics of the British flat racing during the month of May.
During the festival, on day 1 the 2,000 Guineas leads the way with the top colts battling it out on the Rowley Mile. Some of the world’s greatest horses have shone in this race including Frankel back in 2011.
On day 2, it’s the 1,000 Guineas for the fillies. They run over the same Rowley Mile. This race is part of the elite British Champions Series.
Both days of the festival also include plenty of supporting races including an exciting group 3 stakes race for sprinters.
Photo © Richard Humphrey
July Festival: If the British weather manages to hold up, the July Festival is one of the best-loved events in the racing calendar with plenty of top-class racing action. Most major festivals take place on the Rowley Mile but the July Festival takes advantage of the summer course.
The Darley July Cup, one of the main events for the European Sprint Crown, is the highlight of the festival. Runners from across the world compete in this Group 1 race. There are also plenty of Group 2 events to keep spectators entertained.
Cambridgeshire Festival: One summer is over, racing moves back to the Rowley Mile. The Cambridgeshire Festival marks this point.
It consists of the three solid days of racing action with the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, the Group 3 Somerville Stakes and the intense Cambridgeshire.
Future Champions Day: At the tail end of the flat racing season comes the Future Champions Day. As the name suggests, this race is for young 2-year old horses to show off what they’re made of. It’s a day that can make or break a horses future career.
As with most courses, the dress code comes down to the enclosure that you’re viewing the racing from.
Premier Enclosure: This is the smart enclosure at Newmarket. Although there are no official rules for the Premier Enclosure, it’s an unwritten rule that men wear smart trousers, shirt and formal shoes. Women tend to wear a smart dress and will often opt to wear a smart hat.
Obviously sportswear, trainers, fancy dress and ripped jeans are a big no-no.
Grandstand / Paddock / Family Area: These areas are a lot more informal. You can wear jeans, tshirts and trainers quite comfortably. It should go without saying but bare chests are not acceptable… Fancy dress is though!
For full details on what you can and cannot wear, visit the Newmarket website.
Newmarket has an active airstrip, unfortunately better known for Frankie Dettori’s plane crash and the untimely death of his pilot. However, during WW2, the RAF and RAF Newmarket used these airstrips. The important Newmarket racing action was moved to the July Course during this period and it remained the only race course in the UK to continue running throughout the war.
Address and Contact Details
Westfield House, The Links, Newmarket CB8 0TG
01638 675 500
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