Brighton Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Freshfield Road, Brighton, BN2 9XZ - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01273 603580
Gates to Brighton Racecourse
Brighton Racecourse Entrance (Paul Gillett / geograph.org.uk)

An exclusively flat racing course, Brighton is situated just one mile northeast of Brighton city centre, and a further mile from the coast. Racing first started in Brighton in 1713 but wasn’t moved to the current site until 1783. Racing at Brighton is held annually between April and October.

The current stand at Brighton racecourse has stood since 1965 and cost a total of £400,000 to build. Whether travelling by car or by public transport, Brighton couldn’t be easier to get to, with easy road access via the A27 Brighton bypass, as well as regular trains taking under an hour from London. The track is just two miles from the train station, easily within walking distance or via buses that stop outside the station.

Ticket Prices

Brighton Racecourse
Brighton Racecourse (Simon Carey / geograph.org.uk)

Brighton offers two separate ticket prices – entry to the grandstand or premier level entry, which are priced at £10 and £15 respectively. Under-18s are allowed free entry when accompanied by a full paying adult.

The Course

Brighton Racecourse Map

Brighton is one of a small number of tracks not to form a loop, instead it features a U-shaped course similar to the one seen at Epsom. Much like the famous Surrey course, Brighton’s track only extends 12 furlongs in length so you won’t find any endurance flat races held here.

Similarities don’t extend too much further than that though. Brighton has a unique configuration with a left handed dog leg turn followed by a sharp downhill descent, one of the steepest declines in British racing, which continues throughout the final bend. After this, there’s a steep climb to the line which can sometimes catch runners out.

So far Brighton probably sounds challenging enough but what we’ve not yet mentioned is the fairly pronounced camber that leans into the rail. Often the source of congestion during races, it’s yet another reason why Brighton favours smaller, handy types rather than long-striding sorts. Many horses aren’t up to the test but you do find those that relish the south coast challenge. Former course victories are therefore something worth paying attention to when placing your bets as Brighton is very much a distinctive test that some horses just won’t take to.

Bias Present Only in Sprints

With both 5f 59y and 5f 213y races taking place after the right handed turn located in the middle of the course but shortly before the long left handed bend, a spot on the inside would logically appear to be ideal. This has not been the case though with horses drawn low winning less than those on their outside while also posting a much heavier loss from a £1 stake.

The reason for this is mainly because when the going is soft at Brighton, even though that isn’t all that often, the better ground is actually towards the stand side. Runners typically move across there as a result but, of course, it’s a longer distance to travel for those on the opposite rail.

In longer races, there isn’t really any bias of note, no doubt in part due to the fact runners take on both a right and left handed bend. They do share a similarity with sprint races though in that front runners are favoured, to a modest extent.

You would perhaps think that due to the sharpness of the finish, those leading the way are in danger of running out of energy as they near the line. While this isn’t an overly rare sight, more often than not prominent runners are able to maintain their advantage. The run in is a fairly substantial at 3.5 furlongs but only around half of it is uphill so horses don’t need to dig deep for a particularly long time and can often hold on.

Attendance Issues

Although Brighton has had enough races with at least eight runners over the past decade to allow us to gain a reliable insight into its draw bias, it’s often not knowledge you can employ. Fairly regular very firm ground coupled with an already challenging course, as well as small prize money means fields are often small at Brighton.

Between September 2009 and August 2019, 728 races (53%) held at the course featured seven runners or fewer. Whilst this makes picking out a winner easier, returns often suffer as a result and, more pertinently to this discussion, the impact of any draw bias is lessened.

Major Meetings at Brighton

Meetings at Brighton
Brighton Racecourse (Paul Gillett / geograph.org.uk)

There is on average around 18 days of racing each year at Brighton and the highlight of the season is their annual three-day event – The Brighton Festival – that takes place in early August. The main event at the festival is the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy Handicap, sponsored by John Smith’s, which is a one-mile race (as the name explains) for horses aged three-years-old and over. Brighton used to be an integral part of the ‘Sussex Fortnight’, where Glorious Goodwood was followed by the Brighton Festival and further racing at Lewes.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of hospitality and dining packages at Brighton racecourse, there is a strong selection of gourmet and silver service menus, as well as bespoke packages available if the initial menu is not to your taste. Suites are available for groups of between 10 and 200, with food, drink and complimentary photographs of your day included and these are priced in three different categories. There are silver, gold or platinum packages, all with slight differences and a natural increase in price and these start from as little as £59 per head.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches