Newton Abbot Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Kingsteignton Road, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 3AF - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01626 353235
Newton Abbot Grandstand
Newton Abbot Grandstand (Newton Abbot Grandstand / Wikipedia.org)

Located in the picturesque South Devon countryside on the north bank of the River Teign, Newton Abbott racecourse has been in use since 1866, which is when the 91-acre site was first purchased. The main grandstand at Newton Abbott wasn’t built until 1969, when the Queen Mother opened it, whilst the current state of the art corporate facilities were opened in 1990.

Following the closure of the dog track at Kingskerswell, there was greyhound racing on site during the evenings of the 70s and 80s, and the racecourse also hosts monthly car boot sales and regular antique fairs to make the most of the facilities on non-race days. In recent years, Newton Abbott has become the home of the south east England National Hunt calendar, with around 18 fixtures taking place each year between March and August.

Getting to the track couldn’t be easier, with the course well signposted following junction 31 of the M5, with free parking available for all customers. Those travelling by train will be delighted to hear that Newton Abbott racecourse has its own railway station, located just ¾ mile walk from the main entrance. The station has frequent services from a number of stations, including London Paddington.

Ticket Prices

There are just two different price brackets for all fixtures at Newton Abbott racecourse. Entry to the course enclosure is priced at £12, whilst access to the paddock enclosure is available for as little as £18. There is an offer of free entry for students available to those with valid identification, whilst access is also granted free of charge to all customers under the age of 16 when accompanied by a full paying adult.

The Course

The Track at Newton Abbot
The Track at Newton Abbot (Derek Harper / geograph.org.uk)

Exclusively a summer National Hunt track, the course at Newton Abbott is run left-handed over a reasonably flat and sharp surface, in the shape of an oval measuring 1m1f in circumference. The tight steeplechase course features seven fences, including a water jump located just half a mile from the finish. The fences themselves are not tough in isolation but do come at runners quickly, which poses a challenge.

A little easier to ride is the hurdles course, which contains four flights per circuit. The run-in here is even shorter than on the chase course so the lead doesn’t tend to change hands once they clear the last. On both courses, horses spend much time on the turn so handy types are favoured, as well as those that are prominently run.

Ability to Travel Vital

Being even the slightest bit off the bridle at Newton Abbot is usually enough to put a quick end to a horse’s chances. There’s simply no time to linger on the tight circuit with races often run at a decent pace. It’s one of the stronger National Hunt courses when it comes to front runner bias so horses too far back rarely stand a chance, especially as the run-in is so short. The importance of travelling throughout means that former flat racing horses often do well here as long as they can stay.

Scudamore’s Speciality

Eight-time Champion Jockey, Peter Scudamore, won 1678 races during a coveted career that spanned 15 years. Of course, with so many winners he tasted success all across the county in this time but at some places he fared much better than at others.

Newton Abbot was one of the places he shone most brightly at, recording 93 wins from 222 starts, a fantastic strike rate of 42%. Rather disappointingly though, the bookies were all too aware of his ability. Even with so many winners, backing ‘Scud’ consistently would have seen you end up with a small level stakes loss (-7.69)!

Major Meetings at Newton Abbott

Meeting at Newton Abbot
Meeting at Newton Abbot (Ian James Cox / geograph.org.uk)

The most prestigious race that is run each year at Newton Abbott is the Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase, which is run either in late August or early September, over a distance of 2m5f. Other than this race, there are no other major events that happen at Newton Abbott as it is only a small course in comparison to others around the country.

However, there are a number of sponsored and charity events throughout the season, mainly aimed at kids to make a day out at the races appealing to everyone in the family, and there is also an annual Ladies Day which takes place each June and is growing in popularity.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of hospitality, Newton Abbott offers both private boxes and high quality restaurants for those that wish to add a bit more sophistication to their afternoon. The boxes are priced in two tiers, with the silver package available for £78 + VAT per person, whilst the gold package costs £90 + VAT per person. There are two restaurants available on site, which are priced at £56.50 per person and £78 per person respectively.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches