One of three famous racecourses in Berkshire along with Windsor and Ascot, Newbury is situated in one of Britain’s horse racing heartlands.
Both Flat and National Hunt races are featured at Newbury, with a top-level race hosted in each code; the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle.
Newbury is generally regarded as one of the best racecourses in the country.
- Address – Newbury Racecourse, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 7NZ.
- Owner – Newbury Racecourse PLC.
- TV Station – Racing UK.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Newbury boasts a fairly large expanse near the Greenham area, enabling it to host Flat, hurdle and steeplechase races. The home straight runs almost exactly east to west.
Newbury’s Flat racing course is left-handed and definitely galloping in nature. It has long been regarded as fair, in fact it’s known as one of the fairest in Britain based purely on reputation.
There is a straight mile at Newbury, used among other things for the Lockinge Stakes. The straight mile undulates throughout which presents challenges to those without the best balance.
Both the straight mile and the round course are thought to be ideal for bigger horses with a longer stride pattern. Such types have an even bigger advantage when the rain comes here as the track can become very testing and takes some getting.
In terms of draw or track position bias, many winners at Newbury have come straight down the middle of the straight course. Sometimes the advantage is on the stands side rail, but that may depend on field size and the position of the stalls.
Races from nine furlongs to 13 furlongs begin on the back straight and are not draw dependent, with the only start punters should be aware of from a draw perspective being the round mile (1 mile, 7 yards). It starts up the chute with the runners taking one turn after just three furlongs into the long, five-furlong straight.
Flat Track Analysis
Jockeys to have ridden Newbury tend to lend their support to the theory that the track is very fair, producing some of the fewest hard luck stories in the country.
Riders’ feedback is that the track is large and certainly galloping, though their words suggest that punters should be wary when the ground gets soft.
Not only can the track prove to be testing, but it can be even slower down the back straight as the nearby heavy woodland affects the racing ground underneath meaning the mid-part of a race can tire some horses out early.
As long as the ground is good racing ground, many top trainers remain happy to send their best horses to Newbury as there are no major biases.
Left-handed and once again galloping with some undulating features, the jumps track at Newbury also rides very fair to all.
Its features mean similar types are suited as mentioned with the Flat course; those with a long stride being favoured for the most part though that isn’t to say other types cannot win here.
While there is nothing too remarkable about the hurdles course, the chase track is regarded as being a wee bit stiffer. It’s thought that the fences offer a good test but that you don’t need a truly exceptional jumper.
Though the straight is long enough for horses to get organised, those leading at the final fence are rarely caught here.
Jumps Track Analysis
Yet again, National Hunt jockey and trainer feedback is that the jumps track here is fair.
Runners appear to have lots of time and space during races given the length of the home and back straights. The bends are sweeping also, meaning that horses don’t get trapped on heels and don’t have to hustle each other for race position.
More often than not, Newbury comes down to simply having the best horse. While from a punter’s point of view finding that is easier said than done, the fair nature of the jumps track means that if you are confident that a favourite and/or highest rated horse has the basics in their favour on the day, it won’t be the track getting them beaten.
Visiting Newbury Racecourse
Situated in Berkshire, Newbury Racecourse is located in one of Britain’s top horse racing areas. The track is just 14 miles from Lambourn, a major training centre.
The course is accessed easily from the M4, M3 and A34. There is also a train station right beside the track for further ease.
How to Get to Newbury Racecourse
On race days, visitors can use a new road bridge over the top of the railway line to the east of the track.
All traffic approaching from the east, west and north can get to the track via junctions 12 or 13 of the M4. Simply head along the A4 following obvious signs for Newbury Racecourse.
From the south, head along the A339 and once again follow the signs to the track.
On each race day there is signage to direct racegoers. Once you arrive at the track, the on-site team will direct you to convenient parking areas.
Those arriving by train should aim for Newbury Racecourse Station. The station sees arrivals from Newbury, Reading, Bedwyn and Paddington.
The nearest airport is Heathrow which is just 47 miles and under an hour away along the M4. Simply use the same directions as above once seeing the signs for the track.
Where to Stay
There are convenient rooms in and around Newbury and Greenham, while London is only just over an hour away.
For foodies, the culinary hub of Bray is just 35 miles away and has not only great hotel rooms but some of the best dining found anywhere in the country with Michelin Star restaurants galore.
Major Events at Newbury
Newbury is a first-rate track for both Flat and National Hunt meetings. It hosts various Pattern races over both codes year-round.
Separating them into categories, Newbury’s major races are:
Major Jumps Races
|Berkshire Chase||Novices’ Chase, Grade 2||2m4f||Winter Carnival – Gentleman’s Day||November|
|Long Distance Hurdle||Hurdle, Grade 2||3m||Winter Carnival – Gentleman’s Day||November|
|Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, Mares Only, Listed Race||2m½f||Winter Carnival – Ladbrokes Trophy Day||November|
|John Francome Chase||Novices’ Chase, Grade 2||2m7½f||Winter Carnival – Ladbrokes Trophy Day||November|
|Intermediate Hurdle||Limited Handicap Hurdle, Listed Race||2m½f||Winter Carnival – Ladbrokes Trophy Day||November|
|Ladbrokes Trophy||Handicap Chase, Grade 3||3m2f||Winter Carnival – Ladbrokes Trophy Day||November|
|Mares’ Chase||Chase, Mares Only, Listed Race||2m7½f||Christmas Raceday||December|
|Challow Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, Grade 1||2m4½f||Challow Hurdle Day||December|
|Denman Chase||Chase, Grade 2||2m7½f||Betfair Hurdle Day||February|
|Game Spirit Chase||Chase, Grade 2||2m½f||Betfair Hurdle Day||February|
|Betfair Hurdle||Handicap Hurdle, Grade 3||2m½f||Betfair Hurdle Day||February|
|Greatwood Gold Cup||Handicap Chase, Grade 3||2m½4f||Greatwood Gold Cup Day||March|
|Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, Mares Only, Handicap, Grade 2||2m4½f||Jumps Finale||April|
Major Flat Races
|John Porter Stakes||4yo+, Group 3||1m4f||Greenham Meeting||April|
|Fred Darling Stakes||3yo Fillies Only, Group 3||7f||Greenham Meeting||April|
|Greenham Stakes||3yo Only, Group 3||7f||Greenham Meeting||April|
|Spring Handicap||4yo+, Handicap, Class 2||1m||Greenham Meeting||April|
|Carnarvon Stakes||3yo Only, Listed Race||6f||Lockinge – Ladies Day||May|
|Aston Park Stakes||4yo+, Group 3||1m4f||Lockinge – Ladies Day||May|
|London Gold Cup||3yo Only, Handicap, Class 2||1m2f||Lockinge – Ladies Day||May|
|Lockinge Stakes||4yo+, Group 1||1m||Lockinge – Ladies Day||May|
|Fillies’ Trial Stakes||3yo Fillies Only, Listed Race||1m2f||Lockinge – Ladies Day||May|
|Abingdon Stakes||3yo Fillies Only, Listed Race||1m2f||Greatwood Charity Raceday||June|
|Steventon Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||1m2f||Super Sprint Day||July|
|Hackwood Stakes||3yo+, Group 3||6f||Super Sprint Day||July|
|Weatherbys Super Sprint||2yo Only, Class 2||5f||Super Sprint Day||July|
|St Hugh’s Stakes||2yo Fillies Only, Listed Race||5f||Charity Raceday||August|
|Denford Stakes||2yo Only, Listed Race||7f||Hungerford Day||August|
|Geoffrey Freer Stakes||3yo+, Group 3||1m5½f||Hungerford Day||August|
|Hungerford Stakes||3yo+, Group 3||7f||Hungerford Day||August|
|Dubai Duty Free Cup||3yo+, Listed Race||7f||Dubai Duty Free International Friday||September|
|World Trophy||3yo+, Group 3||5f||Dubai Duty Free International Saturday||September|
|Legacy Cup||3yo+, Group 3||1m3f||Dubai Duty Free International Saturday||September|
|Mill Reef Stakes||2yo Only, Group 2||6f||Dubai Duty Free International Saturday||September|
|Horris Hill Stakes||2yo Colts & Geldings Only, Group 3||7f||Flat Finale||October|
|St Simon Stakes||3yo+, Group 3||1m4f||Flat Finale||October|
|Radley Stakes||2yo Fillies Only, Listed Race||7f||Flat Finale||October|
About Newbury Racecourse
Newbury Racecourse is incredibly important to the industry for a number of reasons.
In terms of its facilities and the track itself, it is one of the best racecourses in Great Britain. It is important to both the Flat and National Hunt scenes and features a top-level race, a Group 1 and a Grade 1, over both codes.
It also sits very close to Lambourn, one of the biggest Flat training centres in the country along with Newmarket and Middleham in Yorkshire. It is therefore the major local track for many top trainers.
Those trainers inlcude Tom Dascombe, Charlie Hills, Clive Cox, Daniel & Claire Kubler, Ed Walker, Harry Dunlop, Nicky Henderson, Oliver Sherwood, Owen Burrows, Warren Greatrex, William Muir & Chris Grassick and more.
As the search for equality goes on in racing, which is quite correct, Newbury has recognised that this goes both ways. As such, they are one of very few tracks to put on a ‘Gentleman’s Day’ as well as a Ladies Day which is very much to their credit.
Newbury’s Early History
The first known horse racing took place at Newbury back in 1805. The ‘Newbury Races’ was a two-day meeting held annually across at Enborne Heath, just a few miles from the present track location. The meeting was moved to Woodhay Heath until 1815.
Newbury Racecourse as we know it now wasn’t to be built for 90 more years. John Porter, trainer at Kingsclere who now has a major race named in his honour, proposed a new course for the area.
His plans were not accepted by The Jockey Club, several times in fact, as the governing body put forward strict qualifications for new racetracks in the country. Things being as they were in those days however, once King Edward VII got involved in the proposal it was approved immediately!
The Newbury Racecourse Company was formed in April 1904, land was purchased and the track, stables and other buildings were placed under construction.
With the course complete, the inaugural race meeting tool place at the new Newbury Racecourse on September 26th and 27th, 1905.
On the second day, rather fittingly, John Porter trained a horse named Zelis to win the Regulation Plate. It was to be his only winner at the new track, the trainer retiring at the close of the 1905 racing season.
Initially a Flat racing venue, Newbury introduced jumps races in 1906. Since those early days, Newbury has gone from strength to strength and as well as hosting the Lockinge Stakes, a Group 1 straight mile race in May, it hosts two important Guineas trials each April.