Lingfield is one of the busiest racecourses in Britain. While it is better known these days as an all-weather racing venue, it does still feature Flat racing on the turf course while also hosting National Hunt events.
The majority of Lingfield’s fixtures are on its synthetic Polytrack course. Alongside Newcastle, Kempton, Southwell, Wolverhampton and Chelmsford, Lingfield hosts fast-track qualifiers in order for horses to get into races on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, formerly hosted here.
Flat turf racing is still staged, notably the Derby and Oaks Trials in May, while jumps racing is still popular but is not of a very high grade.
- Address – Lingfield Park Resort, Racecourse Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6PQ.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf (National Hunt and Flat), Polytrack (Flat).
There are essentially three courses to analyse at Lingfield; the all-weather and turf Flat courses and the jumps track.
All-Weather Flat Course
The well-used all-weather track at Lingfield is left-handed and is on the inner of the turf track.
Just under 1¼ miles round, the AW course is fairly sharp in nature and suits either those likely to race near the front of the pace, or those with a noticeable change of gear.
Though flat in nature for the most part, the track does rise near the back around five furlongs from home, before descending again towards the home straight which is around two-and-a-half furlongs in length.
All-Weather Flat Track Analysis
Jockeys often report Lingfield’s all-weather track as being dependent on the draw for sprint races, featuring sharp bends. This could also be said of the 1m2f start too as the first bend comes very soon after the start.
Opinions differ on how to ride this track. Some say a low draw and being up with the pace is always necessary, however we have seen time and time again horses going for home and being collared late on the relatively short home straight which tends to make us think the track is fairer than it is given credit for.
Turf Flat Course
The turf course runs around the outside of the all-weather track but features a much longer home straight and has the provision for straight seven-furlong and 7½-furlong races.
The round course is around one-and-a-half miles long and rides very differently to the AW track. Runners reach the summit around a mile from home before having to tackle the downhill stretch to the side, testing their balance as they go to the long home straight.
The straight is round a half-mile from home and these characteristics mean that some trainers have favoured Lingfield as a good test before heading to Epsom, a reason why the track keeps its popular Derby Trial and Oaks Trial in May.
Turf Flat Track Analysis
Without surprise, jockeys have said that balance is key at Lingfield for making it successfully down the hill and around the final bend. The track can also ride particularly testing when the rain comes.
On the straight course, there is a pronounced bias towards those on the stands side. Look out therefore for high draws, especially when the stalls are published as being on the near side, in the middle or when there is a large field.
Furthermore, even when there are traffic problems some jocks have said that horses tend to lean away in the closing stages towards the centre of the track. This means that those on the rail on the favoured ground often get a gap they can take full advantage of.
Left-handed of course, Lingfield’s jump track is essentially a sharp one until the weather takes a turn and then it is among the most testing anywhere in the country.
On decent ground, look for those with a bit of pace as they do better here and often steal races heading into the home turn. On heavy going however, you need a horse that will see out every yard of the trip as things really can change quickly.
Jumps Track Analysis
Jockeys too have noted that Lingfield is the Jekyll and Hyde of jump racing tracks. The feedback is that when the ground is soft, the back side gets very deep putting an emphasis on slow, sound jumping with the home straight riding markedly quicker.
Though a decent test anyway, there aren’t as many ridges and bumps as there are on the Flat track so when the weather is good, it’s essentially fair for all.
Visiting Lingfield Racecourse
Marketed as Lingfield Park Resort, this is the busiest racetrack in Europe hosting more than 80 fixtures each year. The ‘resort’ offers a golf course, leisure club and a 116-room hotel.
How to Get to Lingfield
Lingfield Park is 14 miles west of Royal Tunbridge Wells along the A264, and 11 miles north-east of Crawley up the B2028. Lingfield sits just seven miles from the M25, putting it within easy reach of London and surrounding areas.
Lingfield Railway Station sits right next to the course, with arrivals from East Grinstead and London Victoria.
Where to Stay
Naturally, Lingfield’s own on-site hotel can be your first port of call. If this fills up, there are hotel rooms nearby in East Grinstead which links to the track by train, or near Gatwick Airport and Crawley a short drive away.
Lingfield Park Racecourse Fixtures
|Wednesday||6th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Monday||11th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Wednesday||13th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Wednesday||20th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Saturday||23rd Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Sunday||31st Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
Major Events at Lingfield Park
While jumps racing takes place here during the winter and is popular with many, none of the individual races are of any real significance on the calendar.
Lingfield’s Flat races however are a different story. Until recently, Lingfield hosted the All Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, a race day worth over £1 million in prize money.
While this has now moved to Newcastle, the Surrey track can still boast some impressive events.
Major Flat Races
|Winter Derby Trial Stakes||4yo+, Listed Race||1m2f||All-Weather||February|
|Kachy Stakes||4yo+, Listed Race||6f||All-Weather||February|
|Hever Sprint Stakes||4yo+, Listed Race||5f||All-Weather||February/March|
|Winter Derby||4yo+, Group 3||1m2f||All-Weather||February/March|
|Spring Cup||3yo Only, Listed Race||7f||All-Weather||March|
|Oaks Trial||3yo Fillies Only, Listed Race||1m3½f||Turf||May|
|Derby Trial||3yo Colts & Geldings Only, Listed Race||1m3½f||Turf||May|
|Chartwell Stakes||3yo+ Fillies & Mares, Group 3||7f||Turf||May|
|Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes||3yo+ Fillies & Mares, Listed Race||1m||All-Weather||October|
|River Eden Fillies’ Stakes||3yo+ Fillies & Mares, Listed Race||1m5f||All-Weather||October|
|Churchill Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||1m2f||All-Weather||November|
|Golden Rose Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||6f||All-Weather||November|
|Quebec Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||1m2f||All-Weather||December|
About Lingfield Racecourse
Lingfield Racecourse sits within a 450-acre estate which was first opened back in 1890 by the Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII.
From the outset, the course was a jumps racing venue only until in 1894 the Jockey Club, then the governing body of the sport, gave permission for Flat racing to also be held at the venue which proved to be rather popular.
Since then, racing has been held continuously at Lingfield giving it the sort of history that modern racegoers would do well not to forget. The only exception to this came during WWII, as was the case with many tracks around Britain.
In 1974, owners the Beckwith-Smith family put the racecourse up for sale. The price was listed as £500,000 (£5.5 million today), resulting in it being sold to bookmaking giant Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes owned the track for eight years, selling it in 1982 with the new owners being required to install flood defences on the land. A golf course was developed, opening in the summer of 1987 as what is now Lingfield Park resort began to take shape.
Arena Leisure, now part of the greater Arena Racing Company or ‘ARC’, bought the course in 1991. After ten years of a similar racing schedule, Arena decided to replace Lingfield’s Equitrack surface with a new Polytrack one. This opened up in November of 2001.
In more recent times, major redevelopments have been commissioned including a £5.5 million grandstand in 2004 and a partial re-laying of the turf track.
Lingfield has been a flagbearer for all-weather racing down the years. While it still hosts the Winter Derby, formerly a Listed race but now a Group 3 with its own Listed race trial, it has lost its most valuable race day.
For a number of years, Lingfield held the £1 million All Weather Championships Finals Day over Easter, however as of 2022 this has now moved to Newcastle.