Everything You Need To Know About Newmarket Racecourse
Last updated & tested: 2019-08-10
Newmarket races date back to just before the English Civil War, but gained notoriety during the reign of King Charles II when the monarchy was restored in the 1660s. He is the only king to have ridden a winner at the track, which is colloquially referred to as the headquarters of Flat racing. Newmarket racecourse has since developed a programme that goes right through the season on the level and we’ll have more on events like the July Festival to follow.
One important thing to bear in mind when you are looking at the Newmarket results are there are two different tracks that horses race over. The Rowley Mile, which in actual fact has a straight of about 10 furlongs, is famous for its dip which can catch horses out when they run in trials for and the Classics themselves, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas. This track is used in the spring for the Craven meeting and Guineas Festival, and again in the autumn for meetings like the Cambridgeshire and Future Champions Festival. There’s also the July course, which isn’t just limited to the month but is raced on throughout the summer. The Bunbury Mile straight has rising ground at the finish just like the Rowley Mile! Newmarket is just inside the county of Suffolk, yet the nearest urban centre is that great seat of learning Cambridge – hence why there is a meeting named after the city.
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Popular Newmarket racecourse events for betting
As we’ve just touched on, there are a number of meetings to consider betting on at Newmarket races throughout the course of the Flat season. It makes sense to proceed our discussion of them in chronological order. Here are the major Newmarket racecourse events you need to know about…
Craven meeting kicks things off in style
The first time in a calendar year you can get your hands on tasty Newmarket odds is for the midweek Craven meeting towards the end of April. This is held over three days and overlaps with some of the end National Hunt season events like the one at the Cheltenham. While the Tuesday is fairly low key with the Listed 1m 1f Feilden Stakes for three-year-olds the big race, day two sees the action cranked up a notch.
Fillies with Classic ambitions get the chance for a prep run before the 1000 Guineas in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over 7f, named in honour of Charles II’s most notorious mistress. Frankie Dettori is the leading jockey here, partnering seven previous winners. Older horses also get the chance to shine in the 1m 1f Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes.
And so to the eponymous Craven Stakes from which the meeting takes its name. This is another Group 3 contest over the Rowley Mile for three-year-old colts and geldings only. While it hasn’t proved to be the best 2000 Guineas trial in recent years, 2018 victor Masar went on to land the Epsom Derby! Dancing Brave (1986) and King’s Theatre (1994) are notable famous modern winners of the Craven. Sprinters also showcase their talents in the Group 3 6f dash, the Abernant Stakes won famously four times by the same horse, Boldboy, during the mid-1970s, and three-year-olds get plenty of weight-for-age from their elders.
Guineas Festival good for a couple of Classics
The 2000 Guineas is the first Group 1 of the Flat season and the Classic contest for three-year-olds (but not geldings) has been run since 1809. Some of the all-time great thoroughbreds have landed the spoils in this mile test over the Rowley Mile on the first Saturday in May.
Supporting this feature on day one of the Guineas Festival are the 5f Group 3 Palace House Stakes for three-year-old sprinters and up, the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes for the older horses over a mile-and-a-half, and the Listed 1m 2f Newmarket Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings.
The Sunday is all about the 1000 Guineas for three-year-old fillies. As with the colts who contest the other Classic at this meeting, this is the first leg of a Triple Crown. While the boys go on to the Epsom Derby before tackling the St Leger, the ladies head to The Oaks and then a crack at the Doncaster feature. Oh So Sharp was the last filly to land the Triple Crown for her sex in 1985.
In and around the 1000 Guineas on day two of the meeting are the Group 3 Dahlia Stakes over 1m 1f for the older fillies and mares, and the Listed 1m 2f Pretty Polly Stakes for the three-year-old fillies that haven’t won a Group 1 or 2 race. Dettori again is leading rider in the race’s history having partnered nine previous winners.
July Festival – A midsummer treat
There are less high-profile meetings at Newmarket racecourse later in May and June, but the July Festival is three days of top midsummer horse racing action the following month. Starting on the Thursday with the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy that is a St Leger trial for three-year-olds over 1m 5f, there’s also the juvenile July Stakes – a Group 2 sprint over 6f. The Princess Of Wales’s Stakes, another Group 2 but over a mile-and-a-half for three-year-olds and up, is the main event on day one with the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes – name in honour of the great trainer – for horses aged three on the straight mile.
Day two on the July Course builds up to the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes and it’s ladies’ day at Newmarket. The Falmouth is a straight mile Group 1 test for fillies and mares where three-year-olds get a generous weight allowance from their elders. There’s also the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes on this card as juvenile fillies get to showcase their potential over 6f.
And the Saturday of this Festival builds up to the July Cup with the Superlative Stakes – another juvenile Group 2, but this one is a trip of 7f – and the Bunbury Cup, a handicap for three-year-olds and up. The big race holds Group 1 status and is one of the premier sprint prizes in the world of thoroughbred Flat racing as part of the Global Sprint Challenge Series. With a 6f distance, the July Cup gives three-year-olds a 6lb allowance from the older horses and is always run at an end-to-end gallop.
Cambridgeshire meeting starts busy autumn
Given how close Newmarket races are to Cambridge and the county just across the border in neighbouring Suffolk, they have a three-day meeting named after Cambridgeshire towards the end of September. Day one on Thursday has the Group 3 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes for juvenile colts and geldings only over 7f as its feature, while there’s also the Listed 2m Jockey Club Rose Bowl for stayers with three-year-olds incentivised to run with a generous allowance.
The Friday has a consolation race for horses that didn’t make it into the big 1m 1f Heritage Handicap, plus some group and Listed action. A couple of Group 2s, the 7f Rockfel Stakes for juvenile fillies and the Joel Stakes over the straight mile that is open to three-year-olds and up, are joined by a Group 3 – the mile-and-a-half Princess Royal Stakes for fillies and mares. Those Listed races are the Rosemary Stakes (again for the ladies) over a mile and the Godolphin Stakes over 1m 4f that is also for horses aged three and over.
Cambridgeshire day itself is home to two Group 1 contests in the 6f Cheveley Park Stakes for juvenile fillies and the Middle Park Stakes over the same trip that is contested by two-year-old colts only. There’s also the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes on the Rowley Mile which can be a trial for the following year’s 2000 Guineas as it’s open to two-year-old colts and gelding. Frankel is perhaps the most famous winner of the Royal Lodge back in 2010. The Cambridgeshire Handicap itself is a big field contest where outsiders winning is common over a distance of nine furlongs.
Future Champions Festival rounds the campaign off including Cesarewitch
There’s something for everyone at the two-day Future Champions Festival that is now held a couple of weeks after the Cambridgeshire. On the Friday, the main event is the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile for juveniles that can prove a trial for the following season’s 1000 Guineas. Supporting that are Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 7f for three-year-olds and up, two Group 3s for two-year-olds in the 5f sprint Cornwallis Stakes and the Oh So Sharp Stakes for fillies at 7f. The Old Rowley Cup is a 1m 4f Heritage Handicap held to get you in the mood for the big race the following day and there’s also a Listed contest in the 1m 2f Pride Stakes for fillies and mares aged three or over.
Almost every race on Cesarewitch day is top class action. Before the big handicap is a juvenile Group 1 in the Dewhurst Stakes over 7f. Geldings cannot contest it leaving it another key trial for the following season’s 2000 Guineas. Greats like Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Rock Of Gibraltar and Frankel all tasted Dewhurst glory on route to even better things in their subsequent careers.
Two Listed races and a couple of Group 3s bookend the Cesarewitch card. The Boadicea Stakes is a 6f sprint for fillies and mares aged three and over, while the Zetland Stakes over 1m 2f gives juveniles a chance to test their stamina early on. Moving on to the Group 3s, the Autumn Stakes is a straight mile juvenile contest and the Darley Club Stakes is a 1m 1f contest for the older horses.
The Cesarewitch itself is the premier staying handicap in Europe. Irish trained Vintage Crop landed the spoils in 1992 before going on to Melbourne Cup glory Down Under the following year. It takes a very tough horse to land the spoils in the 2m 2f Heritage Handicap and Aaim To Prosper (2010 and 2012) is the only horse to win the Cesarewitch more than once.
Who is the best bookmaker to use for Newmarket racecourse events?
Which bookie is the one we’d recommend most for their Newmarket odds throughout the course of the season? For their sponsorship of the big two handicaps, the Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch, it has to be Betfred. It’s no idle boast that they are the bonus king with enhanced place terms for your each-way bet on these large field races. Whether you’re an occasional gambler or a seasoned punter, getting extra places can really make a difference to your betting experience. That association between Betfred and the big handicaps stands them in good stead for the other main events at Newmarket races.
As home of two of the five British Classics and seven other Group 1s, there’s always something to bet on. Enhanced prices on winning margins and Betfred bet boosts are among the other things to look out for. It puts them right up there with any other bookmaker you can get online. Betfred still have a High Street presence too, so if you’re an old school gambler who loves to have a betting slip in hand then they can oblige. They often go top prices on a selected meeting everyday, while betting online or through mobile should see you get the best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
Best bookie for Newmarket: Paddy Power
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All the Newmarket races tips you need before betting
With so much Flat horse racing on offer at Newmarket, you are never short on events to bet on. If you need help getting your head around a Classic or one of those Heritage Handicaps, then that’s where our experts come in with their betting tips. With so much Group racing, course form and trials elsewhere to go on, getting your head around it all can be time consuming and modern life is busy. Let us help you with the Newmarket races tips we offer for free right here on OpenOdds. Our experts have been backing winners and seeking out value punts for years. We’ll direct you to the best Newmarket odds and know what a great bet looks like.
It’s important to consider the each-way angle in the handicaps because, as mentioned above, bookmakers are often offering extra places and favourable terms to punters regularly nowadays. That means there’s additional value to be had betting on them, but you need to know what is worth backing in an often wide-open race. As for the Classics, they are hugely competitive too and you need to know what the dangers are on top of our main selection. It’s all considered in our Newmarket races tips.
Need some expert advice on Newmarket racecourse?
Newmarket results are all well and good, but that’s in the past and shapes our betting tips. Looking forward you need to know the latest entries and weights for big races like the Cambridgeshire. Our news section keeps you up to date on everything happening on Newmarket races with a betting first approach. It’s key to be in the know what the latest developments on the road to the Classics or a Group 1 mean for the market and that’s what we’re all about. You should be left better-informed by our news section and the experts have their fingers on the pulse of all the latest racing announcements so you don’t have to.
On the same theme, we also know every OpenOdds user is different; so, for the less experienced gamblers amongst you, we’re here to help break down barriers and make everything feel more accessible. We’ve put together a detail glossary or key racing and betting terms that are explained to you in plain English, so you know your ante post from your first show and trixies from a forecast. Now it’s easy to get clued up on horse racing. Just dip in and out of our jargon buster!