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It is no surprise that Newmarket has the nickname of ‘HQ’. As well as two courses, the Rowley Mile and the July, which back on to one another, it is also home to many of the UK’s leading training establishments and the National Stud. Newmarket stages eight of the country’s 32 Group 1 races every year. The first two classics, the 2000 and 1000 Guineas are staged on the Rowley Mile course in May. The Cheveley Park Stakes, Dewhurst Stakes, Middle Park Stakes, Fillies’ Mile and Sun Chariot Stakes are others taking place on the Rowley Mile along with the ‘Autumn Double’, the Cambridgeshire Handicap and the Cesarewitch. The July Course plays host to the Falmouth Stakes and the July Cup with the Cherry Hinton Stakes and ultra-competitive Bunbury Cup other notable races during the summer.
James I of England had the first grandstand built on Newmarket Heath in the 1600s and Charles II developed the course later that century, overseeing the first race to be staged under written rules in 1665 and visiting often (his lover Nell Gwyn lived in the town). The Town Plate survives from that time. In 1750, the Jockey Club’s headquarters were established at Newmarket and regular meetings were staged from 1762. The course has seen a number of firsts with the introduction of the Tote to British racecourses, the photo-finish and starting stalls all appearing in the 20th century. It was also the only course in the UK to stage regular racing throughout both World Wars.
The Cambridgeshire is one of the year’s big betting heats and rarely has anything less than a maximum field. Raced over the intermediate distance of 1m1f, it is always run at a good gallop so winning form over at least 1m2f in fields of more than 12 runners is paramount. Most recent winners have carried between 8st7lb and 9st6lb so beware of Listed class or Group-rated horses carrying big weights as they usually find the task beyond them against less-exposed handicappers. Those with an official rating of between 90 and 102 seem to do best.
On both courses, which are essentially straight and galloping except from one right-handed turn around a mile from the grandstands, Mahmood Al Zarooni’s two and three-year-olds and Roger Varian’s three-year-olds do particularly well considering racing is always competitive. Sir Henry Cecil and Jeremy Noseda’s older horses boast a good strike rate and Rae Guest’s older sprinters figure prominently as a rule. The effect of the draw can depend on where the stalls are positioned but be wary of free-running sorts. There is quite a climb to the finishing line over the final quarter-mile and those that have burned up too much energy in the early stages rarely get home.
Newmarket racecourse is west of the town itself on the A11 between Ely and Cambridge and can be reached via Junction 9 of the M11. It is also signposted from the A14 and A45. By rail, travel to Newmarket or Cambridge. There is a bus service from both stations on racedays.
Saturday 29th October Results
Friday 28th October Results
Wednesday 19th October Results
Saturday 8th October Results