Horse racing has taken place in Warwick since at least the late seventeenth century, with the first documented race taking part in 1707. In 1809, a grandstand was built, which is when it officially became a racecourse.
The racecourse is located next to the iconic Warwick Castle, and it has attracted many equine stars including the legendary Red Rum. However, he ran in a flat race here in 1967, six years before he would win the first of his three Grand Nationals.
Warwick continued to stage both flat racing and jumps racing until 2014, when it decided to turn its attentions solely to jumps racing. Jumps meetings now take place on a variety of afternoons, evenings, weekdays, and weekends throughout the year.
It offers a variety of themed meetings, with one of its most popular fixtures being its New Year’s Day fixture. It also stages its Classic Chase Day in January, a meeting which features one of Warwick’s biggest races the Classic Chase. Meanwhile, February’s Gentleman’s Raceday features the Kingmaker Chase. Warwick tries to cater to all types of racegoers, providing a variety of packages and hospitality to suit most tastes.
Course Type: Jumps
Current Owner: Jockey Club
If you watch any finish at Warwick Racecourse, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is entirely flat. However, horses must climb quite a steep hill just after the winning line, which then descends all the way to the bend in the back straight. Other than that, the course is left-handed and sharp in nature, with front-runners that jump well often at an advantage if their jockeys judge the pace well. The fences are quite tough though and you’ll often see horses lose their rhythm if they make a mistake at any of the five fences in the back straight.
However, though this means that the emphasis is more on speed than stamina over shorter trips, the flat-out nature that races tend to be run at firmly brings stamina into play over longer trips, especially in races such as the Classic Chase.
Warwick’s season tends to kick-off in September, but its three biggest races are usually run in January and February. These are the Leamington Spa Novices’ Hurdle, the Classic Chase, and the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase.
The Leamington Spa Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 2 Hurdle run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs. It has been won by some notable hurdlers in three-time Stayers’ Hurdle winner Inglis Drever, The New One, and Thomas Hobson. Hennessey Gold Cup winner Carruthers also won this race. The 2017 winner Willoughby Court is another that has gone on to win plenty more races, whilst the 2018 winner Mr Whipped is fancied by many to do the same.
The Classic Chase is run over 3 miles and 5 furlongs and this Grade 3 Chase is often a real slog on typically heavy winter ground. Not many winners have gone on to bigger and better things, though 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur used the race as a prep race the Grand National.
Meanwhile, many winners of the Kingmaker Novices’ Hurdle have gone on to bigger and better future successes. Winners have included Champion Chase winners such as Flagship Uberalles, Voy Por Ustedes, and Finian’s Rainbow, whilst dual King George winner and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run won the race in 2010. The 2018 winner Saint Calvados could also be a horse to watch over the coming seasons.
No formal dress code is in operation, but there are some meetings for which many regulars and newcomers like to make an extra special effort. Beautifully turned out ladies, inclusive of hats, are in abundance in their efforts to win the title of best-dressed lady on Ladies Day, whilst there’s also a prize for the best-dressed gentleman on Gentleman’s Day.
Please note, denim shorts or sports shorts are not permitted in the Paddock Areas or Grandstand, whilst anyone wearing any attire that is considered unsuitable or offensive may be refused entry.
Horse Racing was originally introduced in Warwick in an attempt to attract wealthy business people, with a view to them helping to rebuild the area after the devastation caused by the Great Fire of Warwick.
Rich in history and tradition, Warwick Racecourse played a huge part in the inauguration of National Hunt Racing, as it staged the first official jumps race.
Warwick Racecourse, Hampton Street, Warwick, CV34 6HN
01926 405 560