Plumpton Racecourse

Address:
Plumpton, East Sussex, BN7 3AL - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01273 891550
The Track at Plumpton
The Track at Plumpton (Simon Carey / geograph.org.uk)

Located in East Sussex not far from Lewes and Brighton, Plumpton racecourse is one of the smallest National Hunt tracks in the UK. Early popularity and success of the track saw the steeplechase course extended in 1892, as well as mass improvements to the public facilities. In 1901 the popular South Downs Hunt race was moved to Plumpton, which attracted more local people and made the site significantly more profitable. The first meeting at Plumpton was held on 11th February 1884 and was won by a horse called Cowslip, whilst it is also the track where Tony McCoy rode his 3000th winner in February 2008.

Since its conception, Plumpton racecourse has undergone consistent development, particularly since 1946, including the building of two new grandstands. Lying adjacent to Plumpton railways station, the track is incredibly accessible for all visitors, with the station served regularly by frequent services from London Victoria and Lewes, with extra trains available on race days. Those travelling by car are advised to travel by either the M23/A23, or the A27, all of which offer good access. Recommended routes are signposted by yellow AA signage once off the motorway.

Ticket Prices

As well as access to the racecourse, entry fee enables all customers to get their hands on a full colour race programme free of charge, as well as free access to the on site car park. Access to the grandstand and paddock areas of the course is priced at just £14 in advance, although this price is increased for those who choose to pay on the day.

Senior visitors are offered on the day discount, whilst those under the age of 18 are allowed entry to the course free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, although some identification may be required. As well as single entry prices, Plumpton racecourse also offers a membership deal which allows access to every event, with a single membership starting from just £170, whilst a double membership is heavily discounted at £310, offering fantastic value over the course of the season.

The Course

Sunrise at Plumpton Racecourse
Sunrise at Plumpton Racecourse (Simon Carey / geograph.org.uk)

Exclusively a National Hunt track, the course at Plumpton is run left-handed over severely undulating and sharp terrain and measures 1m1f in circumference. The steeplechase course contains just six fences, including an open ditch. There is an obvious downhill run-in on the back straight, with several gradual climbs and undulations spread out across the remainder of the course.

The four sharp turns around a tight circuit mean that in chases, nippy horses that like to take up prominent positions tend to fare best. This is also true of hurdles races but for contests over the small obstacles there is a little more focus on agility due to the two quick hurdles located on the home straight. Taking this final pair quickly is so important as the relatively short run-in after them gives horses very little time to make up any ground lost.

Aggressive Jumping Pays Off

There is a fairly high fall rate at Plumpton, not because the fences are tough, rather that the course typically attracts a fairly low standard of horses. Many, particularly novice chasers, can be a little tentative over the jumps but there are those that take the obstacles well.

If on a horse that does exactly that, jockeys need to take full advantage as crucial seconds can be gained, particularly on the fences locate at the top and bottom of the hill. Taking the jumps aggressively will also allow those on the saddle to move up the field, an important factor on a course, which favours front runners.

Big Yards Fare Well

Plumpton is far from the most prestigious destination for trainers but you will find that some highly recognisable names send horses down near the south coast. Some of the big yards that do send their horses here fare especially well, in part as their novice runners tend to be better prepared than many from smaller yards.

As of September 2019, Martin Pipe, Nicky Henderson and Alan King all posted a strike rate of above 30% on the East Sussex course. Henderson even posts a level stakes profit of 25.98 making his entries ones that you should keep an especially keen eye on.

Major Meetings at Plumpton

Meeting at Plumpton Racecourse
Meeting at Plumpton Racecourse (nick macneill / geograph.org.uk)

There are 16 annual race meetings at Plumpton during the season between September and May. Their most prestigious race is the Sussex Grand National, which is regularly shown on television and is a stiff test, run over a distance of 3m5f. A lot of winners during Plumpton’s January and February meetings go on to feature in major races at the Spring Festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of dining, visitors to Plumpton racecourse are welcome to eat in the Paddock Restaurant and marquee, with the menu starting from as little as £42 per person. Private suites are available in three separate price bands, with gold valued at £80 + VAT per person and platinum available for £95 + VAT per person.

A winter warmer package is also available, starting from just £45 + VAT per person. As well as these options, visitors are welcome to attend race days in the incredibly well furnished Director’s Box, with prices starting at just £90 + VAT per person for a minimum of 20 people.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches