Though many of us know it simply as Yarmouth, this popular Flat racing track is actually named Great Yarmouth Racecourse and it is one of many owned by ARC.
Racing through the spring, summer and early autumn, Yarmouth’s proximity to Newmarket means it is well supported by trainers from HQ and thus its maiden and novice races can often be of very good quality, future Group winners often winning first at this track.
- Address – Great Yarmouth Racecourse, Jellicoe Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 4AU.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat.
- Surface – Turf.
First of all; keep in mind that Yarmouth did undergo extensive work in 2015 in order to level out the previously undulating home straight. It now provides a very fair and very good straight mile but that has changed the make-up of the course slightly and so we no longer have many decades of relevant information.
The track is a narrow one, though that seems not to cause problems. The round course is around a mile and five furlongs in extent so is long, with a five-furlong run-in which again is one of the longest in the country. Races over 5, 6 and 7 furlongs and even up to a mile can be run on the straight track.
There are fairly sharp bends here so some balance is needed, with those racing handily still seen by many as being the ideal types to go well at Yarmouth.
Jockeys tend to say that Yarmouth is more galloping than anything, despite the relatively sharp bends. The track is now back to being very fair after those undulations were removed.
Riders generally feed back that they feel they have lots of time to get organised in the long home straight. That’s not to say they’ll always get there from the back, especially on quicker ground, but they will get their chance if good enough.
While a few more years’ worth of information will be nice, essentially it seems as though the track remains fair, much like Newbury and a couple of others, leaving punters able to concentrate on form and ability without looking too deeply into a track’s idiosyncrasies.
Visiting Yarmouth Racecourse
The two main areas to buy tickets for at Yarmouth are the Grandstand and the Premier Enclosure.
It’s better to go with the Premier if you can, as this gives you access to better bars and food outlets, allows for closer access to the horses in the parade ring and winner’s enclosure and gives better views of the winning line.
How to Get to Yarmouth Racecourse
The track is easy to find by road. It sits just to the north of Great Yarmouth itself, moving in the direction of Caister.
Coming from the north or the midlands use the A47, head for Yarmouth and looks for signs for the racecourse. From the south you can use the A11 which joins the A47 south of Norwich, or the A12 via Colchester, Lowestoft and Ipswich.
The local train station is only 1½ miles from the racecourse, with taxies readily available to take you directly to the racecourse entrance.
Where to Stay
As a popular seaside town and tourist destination, there are many rooms made available in Great Yarmouth itself so you shouldn’t struggle.
Hotel rooms, B&B’s and rental properties are all available in and around Yarmouth, including some good seafront options which are very close to the racecourse.
Great Yarmouth’s Best Races
The highlight of Yarmouth’s popular three-day Eastern Meeting is the John Musker Fillies Stakes. There are some pretty good quality races over and above this and the classy novices run here though, namely:
|Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 3||7f||June|
|Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 2||1m2f||August|
|Fillies’ Handicap||3yo+, Fillies & Mares, Handicap, Class 3||6f||September*|
|John Musker Fillies Stakes||3yo+, Fillies & Mares, Listed Race||1m2f||September*|
|Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 3||1m1f||September*|
|Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 3||1m6f||September*|
|Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 3||6f||September*|
|Beckford Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||1m6f||October|
*Run during the Eastern Meeting
About Yarmouth Racecourse
Racing at Yarmouth goes back further than many people think.
The first known race meeting was back in 1715 which is when a lease was given out by the Great Yarmouth Corporation to a group of local innkeepers. They used the land to stage racing which was immediately popular.
As far as we can tell, racing was a little in and out around Yarmouth for much of the following two centuries, but was often staged during the town fair every year. In those days, horse racing was simply part of a fair that also included the staging of chasing pigs with soaped tails!
Things were made a little more official and better organised around 1810. Then, the Racing Calendar started to record meetings at Yarmouth with proper prize money using only thoroughbreds.
The racecourse on the South Denes became properly established then and a regular two-day summer meeting was held. This went on for more than 50 years until, in 1866, more racing fixtures were added to the calendar.
Racing was disrupted during the First World War and in 1920 it was moved across to the North Denes. The grandstands were able to be dismantled and rebuilt on the North Denes and are still in use there to this day, the move marking the beginning of 100 years of racing at Yarmouth as we know it.
In 1904, the local authority took ownership of the course and held full ownership right up to 2001. After that, it became a minority shareholder with Northern Racing taking over, one of the precursors of Arena Racing Company.
The ownership group were able to finance the redevelopments and improvements at Yarmouth that the council alone could not. An additional grandstand was built and the facilities modernised gradually.
In 2012, the course was merged with Arena Racing Company which runs it to this day, showing races on Sky Sports Racing and maintaining good relationships with Newmarket trainers who add their support by bringing some of their finest young horses for novice races.