This Pearl situated right in the midst of Newbury provides a prestigious centrepiece for horse racing and the town; as one of the most attractive independent courses in the UK, Newbury Racecourse is celebrated by both flat and jumps trainers worldwide but especially those from Lambourn the nearby training centre, who produce excellent home-grown talent to follow. With their star attraction coming soon on 26th and 27th November in the form of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival we thought this pearl would provide some interesting historical background to this celebrated event.
Racing has been focused on the Newbury area for some considerable time in one form or another, the first recorded racing at Newbury took place in 1805 with ‘Newbury Races’, an annual two-day race meeting at Enborne Heath. This continued until 1811 when it transferred to Woodhay Heath, with racing taking place here until 1815.
It was not until 90 years later when Kingsclere trainer, John Porter proposed a new racecourse at Newbury. The Jockey Club rejected Porter’s plans several times until a chance meeting with King Edward VII brought about a further application and with the King’s backing the application was approved.
In April 1904 the Newbury Racecourse Company was formed, land was purchased, and construction started on buildings and stables at a cost of £57,240. September 26th and 27th, 1905 saw the first ever flat race meeting at Newbury Racecourse, Copper King ridden by Charles Trigg and trained by Charles Marnes won the opening race, the Whatcombe Handicap. Marnes was presented with a Silver Cup (value £25) and Trigg received a gold mounted whip (value £10).
National Hunt racing followed shortly after Flat racing and in 1906, nine days racing were planned for Newbury in 1906 – six on the Flat and three over Jumps. A member’s badge which also covered the two days in 1905 was priced at 7 guineas!
Newbury racecourse has seen high-profile horses and trainers launch winning careers, legendary winner of 5 Cheltenham Gold Cups, Golden Miller made his steeplechasing debut at Newbury in 1931 and won, only to be disqualified for carrying the wrong weight.
Having hosted racing for over 100 years, the racecourse now hosts 29 race meetings annually – a mixture of flat and national hunt, major races held here include the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, and its most famous race the Hennessy Gold Cup or as it is now known The Ladbrokes Trophy. Both Her Majesty The Queen and The Queen Mother have had many successful days racing their horses at the course.
Today there is provision for racegoers at every level, you can find all kinds of entertainment, including live music in the summer. The stands offer fantastic views of the course and for those looking to spend their winnings there is everything from fine dining to coffee shops, bars and even a bakery.
The Racecourse has a dedicated railway station on the line to London Paddington, and there is plenty of free parking on site – why not combine a visit to Pearl House for morning coffee with a trip to the racecourse?
The Racecourse, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 7PN
For more information go to newburyracecourse.co.uk