Newcastle Racecourse Guide

Stable Block at Newcastle Racecourse
Stable Block at Newcastle Racecourse (peter maddison /

Newcastle Racecourse is situated within the 812 acre, High Gosforth Park, around five miles away from the heart of Newcastle Upon Tyne. A whopping 62 meetings a year takes place here, makes it one of the most popular racing venues in the UK

It’s rather unusual in that it has both an artificial all-weather course for its flat racing and a traditional turf course for its National Hunt events. The decision to have this split was made by the Arena Racing Company, who owns Newcastle along with 14 other UK courses.

Jump to: Course | Races | Useful Info | History


Swap Start/End

The Course

The synthetic Tapeta track, now used for flat racing, is a surface more commonly found in America. Wolverhampton is the only other UK racecourse to use this type of all-weather surface. Unlike most other artificial tracks, Newcastle’s is not just oval in shape, it also features a long, floodlit straight that can be used for races of up to a mile in distance. For longer races, being close to the rail around the left handed turns is crucial as otherwise you are having to cover a lot of extra ground just to stay in touch.

The jumping course is also left-handed and somewhat oval in shape. It features a steady uphill rise after the home bend and the overall stiff nature of the track usually leads to fairly steady races. The fences offer a test but by not approaching them at a great pace, casualties are fairly infrequent. The course rides similar to Newbury, both for chases and hurdles and like Newbury, it provides a very fair test of a horse’s ability.

Major Races

The three day Northumberland Plate meeting which falls in June is the most highly anticipated flat event hosted by Newcastle. Races such as the Gosforth Park Cup and Chipchase Stakes help make it such a big occasion but it’s the Northumberland Plate which is the star attraction. It’s one of the most lucrative two mile handicaps in the world and has a history dating back all the way back to 1833.

When it comes to steeplechases, the Eider Chase is the biggest event on the calendar. At a distance of four miles and half a furlong and with 25 fences to be jumped, it’s a great trial race for the Grand National. Many names feature in the history of both races and Comply or Die was able do the double in 2008.

Newcastle also hosts a top class hurdles race, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. It’s the only Grade 1 event to be run at the course and it forms the Triple Crown of Hurdling along with the Christmas Hurdle and Champion Hurdle. It’s proven to be an incredibly difficult trio of races to win in one season, Kribensis the only horse to do so, in 1989/90.


The Track at Newcastle
A Frosty Newcastle Racecourse (Christine Westerback /

With such a packed schedule of racing all year round, finding a suitable date, or dates, to attend is a very easy task at Newcastle.

Useful Info

Dress Code

In the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure you’ll be fine with any clothing providing you keep your top on. Sounds fair enough to us. Fancy dress is allowed but must not be of an offensive nature.

In the Premier Enclosure, ladies must dress smartly and men must have collared shirts and dress trousers or smart denim. Ripped jeans, sportswear and trainers are not allowed.

Ticket Prices

The cheapest Category C or standard pricing tickets vary between £10 and £16. Sometimes admission will be for all enclosures but when the one enclosure policy isn’t in force, access to the Premier Enclosure will cost £21.

Category B tickets can be purchased from as little as £10 for early bid special tickets but normally it’s around £16 for Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure entry, £21 for Premier Enclosure entry and £25 if only a ‘one enclosure’ ticket is offered. 

Category A fixtures are rare but for these special events Grandstand & Paddock entry is £30 and Premier Enclosure entry is £40. The prices mentioned above are advanced prices, most of which are £3 cheaper than on the day. Students, senior citizens and disabled racegoers can get £4 off tickets on the gate however. All advance bookings come with a £2.50 booking fee.


An annual badge for anyone aged 18-24 costs £175 and it’s £315 for adults older than 24. These memberships cover the 60+ fixtures at Newcastle but for those of you just interested in the jump racing, jump only membership can be purchased for £130.

There are plenty of perks to being a member: 38 reciprocal fixtures and a free Durham County Cricket Club match, access to a private bar, discounted meals at the Border Minstrel, as well as other special offers and promotions.

Getting There

The course is a simple place to drive to, based a very short distance from the A1. Getting to the course via other forms of transportation can require a bit more planning. Regular trains run to Newcastle city centre and from here you need to catch the metro to Regent Centre or Four Lane Ends.

From both these stops, a complimentary bus service that starts operating around 90 minutes before the first race will collect you. Alternatively, you can catch buses 40, 41,42,43,44 & 45 from Haymarket bus station in the city centre but these buses are not free of charge.


Plenty of free parking is available close to the course.


Entrance to Newcastle Racecourse
Entrance to Newcastle Racecourse (Bill Henderson /

Horse racing has existed, in various forms in the North East for around 350 years. Earliest records have Killingworth as the location but it was the Town Moor that hosted the first recorded Northumberland Plate in 1833. The famous event took place here until 1881 when it was moved to its current home in High Gosforth Park.

The new home was made possible because the Brandling Estate and its 805 acres of land had been bought out for £60k. Those who invested in the course did so partly because of a desire to promote the sport and partly to get a return on their investment. Both a flat and chase course were set up in time for the opening meeting and the many stables that were built could accommodate 100 horses.


The Estate continued to receive further development over the years and eventually a nature reserve, a Scout Camp and the Parklands and Northumberland Golf Clubs were set up there. It was the racecourse that needed the investment by the early 1990s however as facilities were looking worn and out-dated.

The much needed financial injection came when Northern Racing purchased the course in 1994. Over the next decade, £11 million was spent on the course, including  new stands, the parade ring and the straight mile track.