Salisbury Racecourse

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From May through October each year, a total of 15 flat race fixtures are scheduled on the turf at Salisbury Racecourse, which is located in the lovely Wiltshire countryside, just three miles from the town of Netherhampton and four miles from Salisbury. Leading stables view the right-handed mile-long track as ideal for introducing top prospects. The most anticipated event on the calendar is the two-day Salisbury Splendour, which features the £62,000 Group 3 Sovereign Stakes.

Hosting Great Names in Racing

Racing in the area has been staged since the mid-16th century. Among some the earliest equine greats to have met with success here were Gimcrack (1768), a grey 27-race winner often featured in the paintings by George Stubbs, and Eclipse (1769), winner of eleven King’s Plates as well as the Salisbury City Silver Bowl. The current racecourse was established in 1899, and it has been a proving ground for champions ever since.

In 1941, the Irish bay Sun Chariot made her Salisbury debut as a two-year-old before going to win the Fillies Triple Crown the following year. She would post a career record of 8-0-1 before breeding a number of winners, including Pindari, winner of the King Edward VII Stakes and Great Voltigeur Stakes.

In 1948, the legendary Lester Piggott made his public debut at Salisbury. He participated in an apprentice jockeys race while weighing just five stone (76kg) at the tender age of 12 years and would go on to win flat racing’s Top Jockey title eleven times in a career marked by nine Epsom Derby victories and 4,484 other wins. In 1979, American jockey Steve Cauthen made his U.K. debut at Salisbury, too.

In the 1970s, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard won here en route to becoming equine superstars. In 2000, the Sovereign Stakes was inaugurated and played a role in the development of more major race winners. The 2005, Sire Percy won here before claiming the 2006 Derby, and in 2007, Look Here used a Sovereign Stakes triumph as a warm up for victory in the 2008 Oaks.

Leading jockeys on this course include Richard Hughes, Dane O’Neill, Jimmy Fortune, Kieren Fallon, Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori, to name a few. Among the top trainers are three-time Sovereign Stakes winners Richard Hannon and Andrew Balding in addition to such household names as John Gosden, Saeed bin Suroor, David Elsworth, Mark Johnston and Luca Cumani.

Racing at Salisbury Today

Today, racegoers have their choice of three enclosures at Salisbury Racecourse: the Bibury Enclosure, Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure, and Course Enclosure. Each of these offers guaranteed race viewing, betting facilities with both the tote and bookmakers, nearby car parking, racecard selling points, and bars and catering outlets. There is also the “Big TV Screen,” a very popular attribute of the racecourse, which can be viewed from all three enclosures.

Tickets for a full day of racing start at just £6 and cost no more than £20 for access to all of the enclosures. Bars on the grounds, most of which serve food, include the Bibury, Wessex and Persian Punch bars, the Paddock Bar, the open-terraced Lester Piggott Bar, the Tattersalls Bar next to the bookmakers, and the Sarum Bar beneath the Course Enclosure viewing stand. Mobile catering units can be found on site, too.

Apart from the Salisbury Splendour in August, major fixtures range from the Betfred Family Race Day to launch the season in early May to the Bathwick Tyres Reduced Admission Race Day, which serves as the finale in mid-October. In between, the EBF Margadale Fillies Stakes and the Ashbrittle Stud Bibury Cup are conducted in June, Ladies Evening is in July, and Arabian Horse Racing is held in September.

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