The Racecourse, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 7NZ
Tel: 01635 40015
Newbury Racecourse is uniquely situated in 360 acres of beautiful Berkshire countryside.
In April 1904 the Newbury Racecourse Company was formed and purchased the land and construction began of the buildings and stables.
On September 26th and 27th, 1905 the first ever racemeeting took place at Newbury Racecourse with Copper King ridden by Charles Trigg and trained by Charles Marnes winning 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.
In 1914, the September, November and both December meetings are all abandoned following the outbreak of World War I. Racing did take place during 1915 and 1916 but was abandoned in 1917 until the end of the war.
When World War II was declared on 3 September 1939, racing was postponed with first race times brought forward to allow everyone to get home before dark. Jump racing continued until 1940 but the Easter meeting that year was the last to be staged until 1951.
Flat racing continued despite the course being damaged by bombing and craters having to be filled in. However, in August 1942, the whole course was handed over to the American Army who use the course as a vast depot and marshalling yard. The course was de-requisitioned and the task of reinstatement commenced. It was only on April 1st 1949 that racing resumed after a seven year absence.
Legendary winner of 5 Cheltenham Gold Cups, Golden Miller made his steeplechasing debut at Newbury racecourse in 1931 and duly finished first, only to be disqualified for carrying the wrong weight. He returned on 30 December to win the Reading Chase and again on 20 January 1932 to win the Sefton Steeplechase.
On 19 January 1934 Fulke Walwyn rode Our Hope to win the January Moderate Handicap Hurdle. This was the first of Fulke’s many winners at Newbury both as a jockey and trainer including 7 wins in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup making him the most successful trainer in the race ever.
Lester Piggott has strong associations with Newbury and rode his first winner here on 20 August 1949 as a 13 year old boy. He also rode his last ever winner at Newbury on Bin Ajwaad for trainer Ben Hanbury in the Avebury Stakes and on 17 September 1994 Lester had his final ride at Newbury aboard Royal Hill for trainer Lord Huntingdon.
Newbury has a strong association with the Royal family with the first of a long line of royal winners being His Majesty’s Minoru, ridden by Herbert Jones, in the Greenham Stakes on 31 March 1909. Other well known winners include Winston Churchill whose Loving Cup won the Kintbury Stakes in 1952.
Of course the most famous race at Newbury is the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup which was first run on 26 November 1960, beginning the longest unbroken commercial sponsorship in British sport.