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Racing at Newbury was moved to its current site, at Greenham, in 1910 and it hosts a string of Group 2 and Group 3 contests on the Flat, including the Mill Reef Stakes, Greenham Stakes and Fred Darling Stakes. The latter pair being important early-season classic trials. But the highlight of Newbury’s year on the level is the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes in May, which has been won by some of the best milers around since its inception in 1958. The brilliant Frankel won it in 2012 joining a role of honour that includes the likes of Kris, Hawk Wing, Selkirk and Soviet Line.
Newbury is a flat, left-handed track that suits long-striding types. It has a mile-long straight course which joins the round course at the 5f marker and many of Lambourn and Newmarket’s leading trainers use the course to educate their better two-year-olds. There is no discernible advantage in the draw but fields do tend to come down the centre of the track when the ground turns very soft.
The Weatherbys Super Sprint is one of the most valuable juvenile races of the year and Richard Hannon always has at least one of the more fancied runners in the line-up. He has won the race seven times since 1991, though Tim Easterby has also shown he can spot a bargain and the lightly-weighted Body And Soul in 2012 was his third success in the last 14 renewals.
Saeed Bin Suroor has a good strike rate with his well-bred juveniles and older horses at Newbury. William Haggas and Sir Henry Cecil get plenty of three-year-old winners and Roger Charlton and Jeremy Noseda’s runners in general do well. John Gosden and Marcus Tregoning’s older horses also have a good strike rate.
The racecourse is approximately a mile from Newbury town centre and well signposted from the A34 and M4. It has its own station with services to London Paddington.
NEWBURY (NATIONAL HUNT)
The track hosts several important NH races throughout the winter. The Hennessy Gold Cup, usually staged at the end of November, is an ultra-competitive 3m3f handicap chase and has been won by several past and future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in its long history. The great Arkle won it twice, as did Denman, while Burrough Hill Lad, Bregawn and One Man were also successful. Over recent years, the younger brigade has dominated and horses aged eight or younger should head the short-list. It is also proving an advantage to have previous course experience while proven stamina is a must so make sure your selection has won over 3m or further in the past.
Other big NH races run at Newbury include the Tote Trophy, a valuable handicap hurdle in February, the Aon Chase, Game Spirit Chase and the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle which is staged between Christmas and New Year.
Newbury is a flat, left-handed track that suits long-striding types but chasers need to measure their fences as races are normally run at an honest pace. Much more than at many other national hunt tracks, hold-up horses in hurdle races can do well at Newbury as it is a long way up the home straight and from the final flight to the finishing line.
Paul Nicholls and Charlie Longsdon’s chasers have a decent record and Joe Tizzard runs his better hurdlers here. Oliver Sherwood’s occasional runners also make a profit.