Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide

Newton Abbot Racecourse
Newton Abbot Racecourse (Chris Allen / geograph.org.uk)

Newton Abbot is one of the UK’s top racecourses for summer jumps meetings, usually holding 18 fixtures between April and October. You’ll struggle to find many courses situated so closer to water than Newton Abbot which has been built on the north bank of the River Teign.

In March 2012, Newton Abbot was awarded the Gold Award by the Racehorse Owners’ Association, becoming just the 17th UK based racecourses to hold the award. The award was established to reward courses that offered an excellent race day experience for owners, trainers and stable staff.

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The Course

The tight, left-handed course at Newton Abbot favours handy types who are able to navigate the bends, which are never too far away given the short length of the track. The nature of the course, combined with a very a short run in, also means that prominent runners tend to fare better as there are few good opportunities to overtake.

Along with this, horses need the ability to travel and any jockeys racing off the bridle more often than not stand little chance of success. There is less emphasis on jumping as the fences are quite easy to negotiate and this makes it quite a popular place for former flat racers, trying out steeplechasing as novices.

Major Races

The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap used to be the highlight event at Newton Abbot but its absence from the 2016 and 2017 fixtures list has put its future in doubt. The race had enjoyed a good quality of horses with former winners going onto win Grade 1 contests or in the case of 2004 winner, Take The Stand, finishing second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Visiting

Newton Abbot Racecourse Next to the River Teign
Newton Abbot Racecourse Next to the River Teign (Smalljim / Wikipedia.org)

Newton Abbot regularly holds competitions to win free tickets, just follow them on Facebook or Twitter, or join their mailing list.

Useful Info

Dress Code

Smart casual is the policy at Newton Abbot and jeans are allowed in both enclosures but vests are not. The smart casual policy also applies to the on-site restaurants with the only difference being that diners are discouraged from wearing jeans.

Ticket Prices

Students with valid identification and children aged 16 and under who are accompanied by a paying adult receive free entry to the course. For everyone else, entry to the Course Enclosure is £12 while Paddock Enclosure admission is £19. These prices apply to all race days.

Tickets purchased online can be collected from the course or sent in the post but there is no discount for early booking. For all Monday meetings, racegoers can take advantage of a 2-4-1 promotion but this only applies to Paddock Enclosure tickets.

Membership

Annual membership costs £190 at Newton Abbot and early purchasing is recommend as there is only a limited number of badges available. With an annual badge you’ll have access to both enclosures, the Annual Members and Shareholders Lounge, the members’ car park and there are 50 reciprocal fixtures to enjoy.

Getting There

Newton Abbot is well connected by rail and the station is located a walkable three quarters of a mile from the course. If opting to drive, there are good road links to the track which is well signposted, especially from the north.

Parking

Plenty of free parking is available in the centre of the course.

History

The Course at Newton Abbot
The Course at Newton Abbot (N Chadwick / geograph.org.uk)

The current location of the racecourse in Devon was bought by local racing enthusiasts in 1866 in order to create a space to celebrate equine sport in the area. It didn’t take long before horse racing followed and it grew rapidly in popularity. With the venue not in the position to cope with this demand for racing, it took some time before it became a proper home of racing.

When the course became well equipped to deal with the requirements of hosting racing, regular meetings followed ever since. The only breaks to the action occurred during both world wars. During the First World War the course was used by troops and also functioned as a prisoner of war camp and during the Second World War, Newton Abbott could only organise the one race day. To celebrate the end of the fighting, racing returned with a bang and 17,500 were in attendance for an August Bank Holiday meeting in 1945.

Modernisation

Her Majesty the Queen Mother paid the course a visit in 1969 to open the new main grandstand. The next major build were the corporate facilities that were completed in 1990. There has been continuous modernisation of the course since to improve the experience of racegoers and those who attend for other functions. Until 2005, the inside of the course also featured a greyhound track, built in 1974, which was dismantled whenever horse racing took place.