Southwell Racecourse is a dual-purpose racing venue in Nottinghamshire.
Though it hosts some lower-level jumps meetings too, it is more important to the all-weather Flat racing scene along with Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Lingfield, Kempton and Chelmsford.
Until late 2021, Southwell used a Fibresand surface but that has since been changed to the popular Tapeta which has proven to be very popular with trainers at Wolverhampton and Newcastle.
- Address – Southwell Racecourse, Occupation Lane, Rolleston, Nottinghamshire, NG25 0TS.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Tapeta (Flat) and Turf (National Hunt).
Southwell is kept very busy indeed, at least on its all-weather course.
Things have changed in recent times owing to the course’s switch from Fibresand to Tapeta, though the feedback has been excellent with the move being seen almost universally as a good one for the track.
In terms of layout, Southwell’s all-weather track is very unremarkable.
There is a straight five furlongs meaning that races over that distance, and 1m6f, begin before the final bend. All other races however are staged on a traditional oval, around 1¼ miles in total length.
Races from 1m2f to 1m5f begin in front of the stands, with one-mile events, seven-furlong and six-furlong races all starting on the back straight.
The track is flat with a run-in of around three furlongs after the final turn, one which is tight enough by British standards and just a little more sweeping than a typical American dirt track against which it is often compared.
Something to always keep in mind with Tapeta tracks is that while they are all very fair, leading to many top trainers sending good horses, it can ride a tad slow.
When there is little for organisations such as the Racing Post, Timeform or the BHA to compare horses to in terms of form and performance, they look at the time of races which can then lead to low ratings.
Lots of these ratings can then be upgraded. You’ll often find that a horse running at Newcastle, and perhaps now Southwell, will be given a mark some 5-10lbs below what they should have been given and so factor this in when handicapping future races.
Flat Track Analysis
Given the above, it’s hardly surprising that jockeys report very few problems riding at Southwell.
They do feed back that it rides very similarly to an American track, perhaps even more so now after the Tapeta surface was introduced to replace the old Fibresand track.
A little longer in the tooth is Southwell’s turf jumps course which sits to the inner of the all-weather Flat track. The track is therefore tight in nature.
Left-handed, the National Hunt course at Southwell suits those with the speed and balance to get round the bends of what is essentially a simple oval.
On good to firm, good or even good to soft ground the emphasis is understandably on speed. This is of course exaggerated in shorter races, such as two-mile hurdles.
When the rain comes at Southwell however it can be very testing indeed. So, despite the make-up of the track, stamina is absolutely crucial and especially in longer chase races when things get a little muddy.
Jumping needs to be slick here too. The fences are portable, but notably stiff.
Jumps Track Analysis
Arguably underused and certainly at higher levels, the jockey feedback about Southwell’s jumps track is almost all positive.
Very well maintained, especially for summer jumps racing, the fences provide a proper challenge and a mix of speed and stamina is often required during the same card.
When the pace increases around the tight bends space can be at a premium, so you want a horse with a bit of toe to ensure they can launch into a gap the second one opens up.
The better jockeys tend to stay up with the pace here, so perhaps look for horses which are comfortable doing this as hold-up types will either not be suited by Southwell or will be forced out of their comfort zone.
Visiting Southwell Racecourse
Southwell races often, so there is no shortage of fixtures to choose from.
All-weather takes place year-round, while some of the track’s turf summer jumps meetings are incredibly pleasant to attend.
How to Get to Southwell
Southwell is just a six-mile drive from Newark-on-Trent, 16 from Mansfield along the A617 and the same from Nottingham up the A612.
Rolleston station is right over the road from the racetrack and provides the easiest way to get there. The station has services from Crewe, Newark Castle, Leicester and Grimsby Town.
Where to Stay
There are no hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity, with Newark being the closest place to stay. Many racegoers from outside the area tend to stay in Nottingham before then making their way to Southwell.
Southwell Racecourse Fixtures
|Tuesday||12th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Friday||15th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Sunday||17th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Thursday||21st Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Friday||22nd Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Friday||29th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
Major Events at Southwell
There are no Pattern races or major handicaps at Southwell.
Races to keep an eye on, right through the traditional winter all-weather season, are those offering points for the All-Weather Championships.
Some races run at Southwell are known as ‘Fast Track Qualifiers’, meaning the winner of such an event gets an automatic place on the £1 million Finals Day at Newcastle.
Military Charity Raceday in May is also popular, alongside Ladies Day and Gentlemens Day.
About Southwell Racecourse
Racing has been celebrated at Southwell for 120 years. In fact, the sport was organised in the area as far back as the mid-1800’s on Burgage Green in the centre of Southwell before moving to its present location near the village of Rolleston.
These days Southwell, via owners ARC, attempt to offer racegoers a fine blend of comfort, charm and excitement.
As racing is held on both the hardy Tapeta all-weather track and the jumps course to the middle, Southwell remains one of the busiest racecourses in the country.