Newbury Racecourse has undergone considerable transition over the past few years. Course Specialist recently caught up with Harriet Collins, Marcomms and Sponsorship Director at Newbury, to find out how the Berkshire course is shaping up, ahead of the 2019 Flat Season.
When did the redevelopment work commence at Newbury?
The first Phase of the of the work began in 2013, with the redevelopment of the stable yard. From the initial planning to where we are today, it will be about 10years in total from planning to completion.
Along with the paddock and hotel, what other work has taken place?
The Rocking Horse Nursery and The Estates Yard were some of the first works to be completed following on from the Stables Yard.
One of the other key developments was The Owners Club, which was Highly Recommended for Operational Excellence at the 2018 RCA Showcase awards last year. Opened in November 2017, we have been delighted with the response from owners, trainers and connections. There are always improvements to be made but we have really tried to think about what owners want from the moment they arrive at the racecourse and the fact you can see both the pre-parade and parade ring from the 200-seater restaurant is quite a feature.
How much investment has been made in the facilities and how does the racing crowd benefit?
There has been upwards of £20million spent on the redevelopment of the site which is now almost complete. The viewing around the parade ring and winner’s enclosure has seen significant improvements made, the benefits of which we hope, are already being enjoyed by both racegoers as well as owners, trainers and jockeys. The steppings enable racegoers to get closer to the action, whilst the safety inside the paddock has been improved. We have also installed a new wash down-area outside of the parade ring for horses that finish outside of the top four which has been a big improvement.
The redevelopment has considered each customer during the redevelopment process be it the horse, owner, trainer, stable staff member and racegoer.
Has the redevelopment opened new revenue streams for the racecourse?
Although the capacity of the racecourse hasn’t changed post development, it has hugely improved the appeal of some of the spaces and in turn opened up new revenue streams.
The addition of The Owners Club has given our Conference and Events team an additional space which is ideal for weddings and private dinners seating 200 people. Most of our hospitality boxes have also been refurbished. The Lodge, which was built for stable staff accommodation on racedays has also opened up a new revenue stream for the racecourse, on a non raceday it lends itself as a hotel for a number of corporate guests which serves visitors to Newbury.
The development of the stables yards also added 25 new stables. We also have on-site nursery which has capacity for 127 children in a state-of-the-art facility.
Is the redevelopment work complete now or are there other projects to undertake?
Most of the redevelopment is now complete although there are still a few areas which require further work, including the Pall Mall building as well new areas for our Annual Members. There will be a new bar which is due to open later in the Summer called The Stables, it sits where the old Saddling boxes were and still has many of its original features.
A big thanks must go to all our customers who have been very patient while all the works have been going on around them and we hope those who visit us this year are impressed by the new site and keep coming back.
How important in the Newbury calendar is the Greenham Meeting and how much of a challenge is it to attract the leading Guineas candidates to Berkshire rather than Newmarket?
As the first meeting of our flat season, the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting is always a fascinating two days. Falling relatively early in the season, especially this year, we are always treated so some exciting performances and inklings of stardom. 2018 saw Lah Ti Dar win her Maiden as well as other eye-catching performances from the likes of Defoe and Expert Eye.
Runners in a number of races across the two days and in particular the Group 3 Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes and the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Registered as The Fred Darling Stakes) will often go on and perform well throughout the season.
How big a crowd will you be aiming for at the Greenham?
Always a popular meeting as the Flat returns to Newbury, we would expect over 8,000 racegoers on Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Saturday, featuring the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes.
How can people secure their place at this prestigious meeting?
Tickets can be purchased via our website: www.newburyracecourse.co.uk or by calling the racecourse on 01635 40015. Group tickets are available with good discounts.
Two award-winning restaurants with fantastic views of the course, and stunning private hospitality suites that offer raceday experiences that suit all budgets and requirements with prices from £99.
What else are you looking forward to at Newbury during 2019?
As a dual-purpose course, offering 29 racedays a year across both the Flat and Jumps season, there really is something for everyone and we would encourage anyone looking for a fun day out to come and see us. We are incredibly lucky to have a train station just a 2-minute walk from the track and 30mins from Reading which makes it very accessible from so many areas.
For the first time this year, the Al Shaqab Lockinge will also feature our Ladies Day on Saturday 18th May. This day will be full of style and class, and will fit perfectly alongside our richest race, the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge and it would be brilliant to see Laurens line up in the race and make it a second year in a row that a filly wins the races.
Jumping returns to Newbury in November with our Ladbrokes Winter Carnival taking prime position on Friday 29th November and Saturday 30th November. The highlight of two days of top-class jumping action is the Ladbrokes Trophy, formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup, which features on the Saturday. Former winners of the race include a total of nine horses who have gone onto win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, most notably Denman in 2007 and 2009 and Native River in 2016. Many Clouds became the first horse to win both the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Grand National in 2014 and 2015 respectively and he is marked at the racecourse with the Many Clouds Bar which was opened by Oliver Sherwood last year.
Big Race History at the Spring Festival
John Porter Stakes
The Group Three Dubai Duty Free John Porter Stakes is named after one of Britain’s greatest trainers and one of the founders of Newbury Racecourse.
Contested over 1 ½ miles, the race was established in 1928 and boasts quite a roll of honour. It often features some of the best older middle distance horses that have stayed in training, offering clues for Royal Ascot and the Coronation Cup.
Aggressor landed the 1960 renewal and went on to beat the great filly Petite Etoile, in the same year’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Derby winner Charlottown was successful in 1967, while Rheingold landed the 1973 renewal en route to winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe later that same year.
Glint Of Gold, second to Shergar in the 1981 Derby, landed the John Porter a year later in the famous silks of Paul Melon. The following year, Diamond Shoal made it back to back victories for the American owner.
Jupiter Island won the race in 1985 and would go on to win the Japan Cup the following year, while Unfuwain was a classy winner in 1989.
Sir Michael Stoute enjoyed back to back victories in 1991 and 1992, with the talented pair of Rock Hopper and Saddler’s Hall.
Multiple Group One winner Warrsan was successful in 2003 and Arc runner-up Mubtaker became the oldest winner, aged nine, in 2006.
There was another classy Stoute winner in 2010, when Harbinger served notice on his burgeoning talent, while Arab Spring and Dartmouth sealed the trainer’s position as the most successful in the history of the race, with seven victories to date.
In 2018, Defoe won the race for Roger Varian, before adding the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. He eventually ran in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Dubai Duty Free John Porter Stakes winners
1980 Niniski Willie Carson Dick Hern
1981 Pelerin 4 Brian Taylor Harry Wragg
1982 Glint of Gold 4 John Matthias Ian Balding
1983 Diamond Shoal 4 Steve Cauthen Ian Balding
1984 Gay Lemur 4 Geoff Baxter Bruce Hobbs
1985 Jupiter Island 6 Greville Starkey Clive Brittain
1986 Lemhill 4 Ray Cochrane Michael Blanshard
1987 Rakaposhi King 5 Steve Cauthen Henry Cecil
1988 Alwasmi 4 Richard Hills Harry Thomson Jones
1989 Unfuwain 4 Willie Carson Dick Hern
1990 Brush Aside 4 Steve Cauthen Henry Cecil
1991 Rock Hopper 4 Pat Eddery Michael Stoute
1992 Saddlers’ Hall 4 Pat Eddery Michael Stoute
1993 Linpac West 7 Frankie Dettori Bill Elsey
1994 Right Win 4 Pat Eddery Richard Hannon Sr.
1995 Strategic Choice 4 Richard Quinn Paul Cole
1996 Spout 4 Tim Sprake Roger Charlton
1997 Whitewater Affair 4 Olivier Peslier Michael Stoute
1998 Posidonas 6 Richard Quinn Paul Cole
1999 Sadian 4 Pat Eddery John Dunlop
2000 Yavana’s Pace 8 Darryll Holland Mark Johnston
2001 Lucido 5 Pat Eddery John Dunlop
2002 Zindabad 6 Kevin Darley Mark Johnston
2003 Warrsan 5 Philip Robinson Clive Brittain
2004 Dubai Success 4 Michael Hills Barry Hills
2005 Day Flight 4 Richard Hughes John Gosden
2006 Mubtaker 9 Martin Dwyer Marcus Tregoning
2007 Maraahel 6 Richard Hills Sir Michael Stoute
2008 Royal and Regal 4 Neil Callan Michael Jarvis
2009 Enroller 4 Martin Dwyer Willie Muir
2010 Harbinger 4 Ryan Moore Sir Michael Stoute
2011 Indian Days 6 Tom Queally James Given
2012 Harris Tweed 5 Liam Jones William Haggas
2013 Universal 4 Silvestre de Sousa Mark Johnston
2014 Cubanita 5 Jim Crowley Ralph Beckett
2015 Arab Spring 5 Ryan Moore Michael Stoute
2016 Dartmouth 4 Ryan Moore Michael Stoute
2017 Muntahaa 4 Jim Crowley John Gosden
2018 Defoe 4 Andrea Atzeni Roger Varian
Dubai Duty Free Fred Darling Stakes
The Group Three Dubai Duty Free Fred Darling Stakes is run over seven furlongs and is one of the most significant trials for the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The race commemorates one of the UK’s greatest ever trainers, six-time Champion Trainer Fred Darling, who was local to Newbury and trained seven Derby winners in a glittering career.
It was first run as the Lambourn Stakes in 1949 and was re-named in honour of Darling, in 1955.
Mysterious won the race in 1973, before landing the 1,000 Guineas and Topsy, in 1979, won the Fred Darling before placing at Newmarket.
In 1981, Marwell saw out the seven furlongs well at Newbury, before placing in the 1,000 Guineas. But Sir Michael Stoute’s filly would prove most effective as a top class sprinter.
A year later, the race was won by Slightly Dangerous, a top class racehorse, who as a broodmare, proved hugely important to Juddmonte Farms.
Among her progeny were Champion Miler Warning, Irish Derby placed Deploy, dual Derby winner Commander In Chief, Derby runner-up Dushyantor and Ribblesdale Stakes winner Yashmak.
Mahogany was a top class winner in 1984, while two years later, Maysoon, a daughter from Shergar’s only crop, won the race, before placing in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas.
Pass The Peace gave Michael Bell a Group race success in his first season as a trainer in 1989.
The following year, Salsabil served notice on her prowess in the Fred Darling Stakes. By the end of 1990, she had won the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Irish Derby.
A year later, the grey filly Shadayid, followed her footsteps from Newbury to Classic glory at Newmarket.
Another vintage winner came in 1996, as Sir Henry Cecil’s brilliant filly Bosra Sham tuned up for 1,000 Guineas glory at Newbury.
Wince also completed the double for Cecil in 1999.
Dubai Duty Free Fred Darling Stakes winners
Pass the Peace
The Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes
The Group Three Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes, named after the area of Berkshire in which Newbury is located, is one of the most important trials for the 2,000 Guineas and has been the starting point for the careers of some of the great names of the Turf.
Established in 1906, the race takes place over a straight seven furlongs.
Minoru was the first superstar to win the Greenham, going on to add the 2,000 Guineas and Derby of 1909.
Parth won the Greenham in 1923 – and after a luckless run in the Derby, in which he remarkably finished third, having been left at the start, he went on to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Orwell won the race in 1932 before adding the 2,000 Guineas a few weeks later.
Silly Season was successful for local trainer Ian Balding and jockey Geoff Lewis, in 1965 – but six years later they returned with one of the all-time greats, when Mill Reef won the race.
The Paul Mellon owned colt would finish behind Brigadier Gerard in an epic 1971 2,000 Guineas, before landing the Derby, Eclipse Stakes, King George and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Boldboy won the race in 1973 and would prove a popular horse throughout the 1970s.
In 1976, Sir Henry Cecil’s Wollow won the Greenham, before adding the 2,000 Guineas.
Three years later, it seemed Kris would follow suit when he won at Newbury. However, he had to give second best to Steven Cauthen and Tap On Wood in the 2,000 Guineas, before dominating the mile division in 1979, with victories in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Waterford Crystal Mile, Queen Elizabeth II nd Stakes and Challenge Stakes.
Known Fact could only finish fourth to Final Straw in 1980, but reversed form at Newmarket on the disqualification of Nureyev, in the 2,000 Guineas.
Wassl won the race in 1983 and was an early pointer to the growing role of the Maktoum family in British racing. The bonny little colt would go on to beat Lomond in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Bairn was another early Maktoum winner in the race in 1985. The Luca Cumani trained chesnut was narrowly beaten in the 2,000 Guineas by Shadeed.
In 1992, the French colt Lion Cavern won the Greenham on soft ground. However, it was the fourth-placed Rodrigo De Triano, who would go on to English and Irish Guineas glory, as well as winning the Juddmonte International Stakes.
Turtle Island was a runaway winner in 1994 and would follow suit in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in soft ground.
A year later, the northern superstar Celtic Swing was an easy winner of the race, beating top class miler Bahri in the Greenham. Celtic Swing was narrowly beaten by Pennekamp in the 2,000 Guineas, but would go on to land the Prix du Jockey Club.
Dick Turpin beat his much-vaunted stable mate Canford Cliffs in 2010, with both colts going on to Group One glory as three year-olds.
But in 2011, the eyes of the racing world were fixed on Newbury, for the three year-old debut of Frankel.
Sir Henry Cecil’s ultimate work in progress eased to a brilliant victory over the top class Excelebration, before destroying his rivals in the 2,000 Guineas. Frankel would retired unbeaten at four, after fourteen victories.
In 2014, Kingman confirmed the promise of his two starts as a juvenile, by returning from injury with a fine win in the Greenham Stakes.
However, it was Night Of Thunder, soundly beaten at Newbury, who would reverse form in the Newmarket Classic, with Kingman settling for Irish 2,000 Guineas compensation.
2015 saw another superstar win the Greenham in the form of Muhaarar.
The Charlie Hills runner would prove most effective as a sprinter and duly became Champion Sprinter for the year.
In 2017, Barney Roy confirmed his promise with victory in the Greenham Stakes, before running a close second to Churchill, in the 2,000 Guineas. He would later gain his revenge in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
In 2018, James Garfield gave George Scott a first victory in the Guineas trial.
Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes winners