Great Yarmouth Racecourse

Published: 08/10/2013

Great Yarmouth Racecourse is situated just a mile north of one of many sandy beaches that have brought fame to the Norfolk town of Great Yarmouth, sometimes referred to as Newmarket On Sea. It features a narrow, left-handed oblong track that measures one mile and five furlongs in circumference, used exclusively for flat racing. Each year, some 23~25 fixtures are scheduled between March and October. The most valuable race on the annual calendar is the Listed John Musker Filliesí Stakes in September.

Proving Ground for East England Speedsters

Horseracing has been a part of Great Yarmouth life since the 18th century. In 1715, the Yarmouth Corporation agreed to lease land to a group of innkeepers so that they could stage race meetings. Contests were conducted intermittently, leading to the construction of the areaís first true racecourse in 1810. It was built on the South Denes to give soldiers based in the local barracks a place to race their horses. A two-day late-summer meeting was held each year and a monument was installed in 1819 at the venue to commemorate Nelsonís victory at Trafalgar. It was not until 1866, however, that the number of annual fixtures began to increase.

A local authority took over ownership of the course in 1904. However, owing to pressure from the fishing industry to expand premises in the South Denes after World War I, the racetrack in its current configuration was created on the North Denes in 1921. Two grandstands were dismantled and removed to the new location, where they remain in use till this day. Except for a hiatus for World War II, Great Yarmouth Racecourse has been busy every year since the move.

In 2001, the Northern Racing Group bought the circuit and became the majority shareholder. That meant much needed funds were available for improvements and in 2004 a new grandstand was added and named in Lord Nelsonís honour. In 2007, some 15,000 race-goers visited the course during Septemberís three-day Eastern Festival to see the likes of Frankie Dettori compete in some highly competitive races.

The proximity of Great Yarmouthís to Newmarket has allowed the course play home turf to runners from the nationís leading training centre. Newmarket-based trainers have done very well over the years and have included such core visitors as Sir Michael Stoute, Mark Tompkins and Michael Bell. Among the top jockeys here are Jamie Spencer and Ryan Moore.

Racing at Great Yarmouth Today

Some of the most popular meetings at Great Yarmouth Racecourse are the Rhythm and Rock Nights in August. Others include the Easter Family Fun Day in April, the July Ladies Night and the August Bank Holiday Family Fun Day, in addition to the Eastern Festival with its Ladies Day. Admission to the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure on a normal raceday costs £12, while entrance to the Premier Enclosure is priced at £19. Children under the age of 16 receive free entry if accompanied by a full-paying adult.

The Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure offers a selection of food and beverage outlets, betting kiosks and access to the Parade Ring and Main Grandstand. Tickets for the Premier Enclosure allow viewing of races from the Lord Nelson Grandstand in addition to access to the Premier Enclosure Lawn and Stand. Bars on the grounds include the Victory Bar, the Vice Admiral Bar, the Buttery Bar and two Grandstand & Paddock Bars. The Trafalgar Restaurant is the racecourseís premier dining facility, complemented by a seafood bar called The Fishbox, the Family Tea Room for snacks and the Fast Food Lawn for a broad selection of fast food concession outlets, including fish and chips, burgers and ice cream.

Published on: 08/10/2013

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