The spiritual home of British horse racing, Newmarket is home to more trainers and more thoroughbred race horses than any other town on the planet. The racecourse hosts two of the country’s five Classic Races – the 1,000 Guineas and the 2,000 Guineas – as well as many other prestigious Group races.
You may not know that Newmarket actually has two different racecourses – the Rowley Mile Course and the July Course (also known as the Summer Course). The Rowley Mile is one that requires the utmost stamina and balance in order to cope with the stiff uphill finish. It’s also a remarkably wide track, with the rails moved on a consistent basis in order to even out the wear and tear on the course.
All meetings that take place during June, July and August are hosted on the July Course. The final furlong on this track features an even tougher incline. The July Course is notoriously good for front runners but with the rails constantly moved on the July Course too there’s no measurable draw bias to go by.
The drainage at Newmarket is top-notch and subsequently the weather has to be particularly foul in order for the ground to become heavy under foot.
The biggest meetings start from early May with the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile Course. The 2,000 Guineas is the opening leg of the UK Triple Crown, followed by the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes. Thoroughbred legends such as Frankel and Sea the Stars have prevailed on the Rowley Mile.
The coup de grace of the summer season is the Darley July Cup – Europe’s leading six furlong sprint race which takes place on the final day of the three-day July Meeting. Its evening meetings are some of the most popular in the country with the ‘Newmarket Nights’ events attracting a host of pop stars for an evening of entertainment after the final race
GeeGeez says: “When it comes to picking a winner for the 1,000 or 2,000 Guineas, it is often a good idea to monitor the action from the previous day’s racing. It can give you an indication of whether the position of the rails is having any direct impact on the draw.
“Beware that both the Rowley Mile and July courses finish with steep inclines so any horse that tends to start too fast during five or six furlong sprint races is likely to run out of gas.”
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