Racing fans always look forward to this time of the year as top class horse racing returns to Newmarket’s historic Rowley Mile Course.
Some of the finest thoroughbreds in the world will be gracing the turf there over the coming weeks.
As summer turns to autumn, the hues change too.
In 2019, the series of important race meetings at Newmarket will be collectively known as the ‘Newmarket Gold Season’, accurately depicting those beautiful colours.
It will run from Saturday 21st September and Saturday 12th October and will encompass so much more than just the world class racing on show.
The Gold Season features important events; the Henry Cecil Newmarket Open Weekend; the Cambridgeshire Meeting and the Future Champions Festival.
The race programme in 2018 was worth over £4.2 million and attracted 546 runners.
The competitive nature of the racing was underlined with 21 Pattern races, including 5 Group Ones and 4 heritage handicaps, including the historic ‘Autumn Double’ of the Cambridgeshire Handicap and the Cesarewitch Handicap.
But the meetings offer so much more in terms of quality and an eye for the future.
Among those runners last autumn, were (at the time of writing) nine horses who won or placed in the Newmarket Pattern races, who as three year-olds, went on to become individual Group One winners in 2019.
Those horses are now household names in racing parlance: Ten Sovereigns (July Cup), Too Darn Hot (Prix Jean Prat and Sussex Stakes), Advertise (Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest), Anthony Van Dyck (Investec Derby), Persian King (Poule d’Essai des Poulains – French 2,000 Guineas), Magna Grecia (Qipco 2,000 Guineas), Circus Maximus (St James’s Palace Stakes), Iridessa (Pretty Polly Stakes) and Hermosa (Qipco 1,000 Guineas and Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas).
Away from the racing, the Gold Season is an important time for bloodstock.
Tattersalls holds its always significant Tattersalls October Yearling Sales, which in 2018 generated turnover of £170 million.
The most expensive lot sold for 3.5 million guineas and in 2018, 14 yearlings broke the one million guineas barrier and 59 lots made 500,000 guineas or more.
The Tattersalls Book 1 sale saw over 500 horses sold, while over 2,000 horses were sold in Books 1 -4.
The Gold Season is also a key time of the year for the town of Newmarket and the local economy.
The four weeks are key for the Suffolk town’s tourism, employment and economy.
Newmarket Racecourse alone will host over 350,000 racegoers and thousands more, from around the world, will attend the Tattersalls Sales.
To give context, horse racing and the breeding industry contribute over £250 million annually to the local economy.
Newmarket and its surrounds are home to some of the most sought-after thoroughbred stallions in the world, with over 30 based locally, generating in excess of £150 million annual in covering fees.
The economic impact of the Newmarket Gold Season is thought to be more than £40 million for the local economy.
Newmarket Racecourses underlines the importance of this time of the year, stating:
“Newmarket Racecourses is proud to announce the launch of The Newmarket Gold Season, an exciting initiative aimed at boosting the profile of the town’s racing, breeding and sales activities during the busy autumn season.
“Autumn signals the return to the Rowley Mile and the start of an unparalleled programme of quality racing hosted by Newmarket Racecourses, with fixtures staged across four pulsating and consecutive weekends.
“The autumn programme has been dubbed the Gold Season for a number of years but for the first time this world-class racing, along with the renowned Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and ever-popular Henry Cecil Open Weekend, will be jointly promoted and celebrated.
“Starting with the Henry Cecil Open Weekend on 21st and 22nd September and culminating with the conclusion of the October Yearling Sale, across this four-week period the town opens its doors and welcomes visitors from far and wide.”
Amy Starkey, Regional Director of The Jockey Club’s East Region, says:
“During the autumn, Newmarket becomes a hub for the international racing and bloodstock world. People are drawn here because of the quality of racing and the calibre of bloodstock at the sales. Through The Newmarket Gold Season we want to celebrate this and increase awareness of our remarkable town and the industry that supports it.
“It is no coincidence that during this period our commercial partners include some of the region’s most valued and influential stud farms, the likes of Darley, Juddmonte and Shadwell, for whom this time of year is critical in terms of results on the racecourse and in the sales ring. The Newmarket Gold Season provides us with a platform on which to tell their stories better than before.”
A total of seven days of high-class racing will be staged at the Rowley Mile across the four season-defining weekends, beginning with the Cesarewitch Trial meeting on the opening Saturday. The focus then turns to the three-day Cambridgeshire Meeting on Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th September, featuring the bet365 Cambridgeshire, as well as the Juddmonte-sponsored Cheveley Park and Middle Park Stakes.
On Saturday, 5th October, Europe’s most talented fillies and mares will vie for end-of-season supremacy over a mile in the Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes before The Newmarket Gold Season reaches its thrilling conclusion at the Dubai Future Champions Festival.
This two-day meeting, on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th October, features the Group 1 races the bet365 Fillies’ Mile and Darley Dewhurst Stakes, as well as the Dubai Cesarewitch, one of the most eagerly-anticipated handicaps in the Flat calendar.
“At the heart of the racecourse’s autumn fixtures is a two-year-old programme that repeatedly crowns European champions and identifies the stars of the following season.
“Nine individual three-year-old Group 1 winners this season either won or were placed in Newmarket’s autumn pattern races of 2018, including Too Darn Hot, Ten Sovereigns, Advertise and Classic winners Magna Graecia, Hermosa and Anthony Van Dyck.
“In the same week that Too Darn Hot won the Darley Dewhurst last autumn, his full brother was the top lot at Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale, selling for 3.5m guineas. The Newmarket Gold Season gives us the opportunity to work more closely with our partners, such as Tattersalls, and the whole community to promote such stories and celebrate Newmarket’s standing in the international racing and breeding community.”
The Newmarket Gold Season – Key Dates
Henry Cecil Open Weekend – 21st-22nd Sept
Cesarewitch Trial Day – 21st Sept
Cambridgeshire Meeting – 26th, 27th, 28th Sept
Sun Chariot Day – 5th Oct
Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, Book 1 – 8th-10th Oct
Dubai Future Champions Festival – 11th-12th Oct
Discover Newmarket Tours autumn itinerary
History And Heritage Walking Tour – 14th Sept
Dalham Hall Stud Tour – 4th Oct
Tattersalls Tour October Yearling Sale, Book 1 – 9th Oct
Feature Tour With Sir Mark Prescott – 26th Oct