The History of Nottingham Racecourse

The history of our fabulous racecourse..

The history books will show racing taking place in Nottingham as far back as 1773 at what’s described as ‘Nottingham Forest’ but by the end of the 19th Century the home of the Sport of Kings had moved to the present site of nearly 300 acres at Colwick Park- formerly part of the Colwick Hall Estate.It was back in 1965 that the seeds of the current set up were sewn and the future of the Racecourse secured. It was bought by Nottingham City Council and an ongoing lease agreed with Racecourse Holdings Trust (the predecessors of Jockey Club Racecourses). Until 1996 Nottingham was a dual purpose racecourse with the jumps track making headlines of its own. In 1971 on a horse called Ouzo in a Novices Chase Stan Mellor became the first National Hunt Jockey to ride 1000 winners and shortly before the Executive decided to make the course flat only the most successful jump jockey of all time, AP McCoy put a Nottingham winner on his CV, booting home The Boiler White to land a 3 mile 3 furlong Handicap Chase for trainer Tim Thomson Jones in March 1995. The last ever jump race, a Handicap Hurdle, was won by a young Apprentice jockey named Timmy Murphy who went on to win the Grand National.

The end of National Hunt racing allowed Nottingham officials to reconfigure the course and establish two flat tracks, one for the use in the early and late weeks of the season and the other in High Summer as part of its policy to improve ground conditions and entice the very best horses. In the past 30 years Nottingham has established a reputation as a track where trainers will introduce classic hopefuls. Legendary Newmarket handler Sir Henry Cecil sent one of the best fillies of his distinguished career, Oh So Sharp to the track to win a Maiden- and the following year she claimed the cherished Fillies Triple Crown, rounding it off by beating the colts in the St Leger at Doncaster. Slip Anchor and Oath are amongst the Derby winners of the modern era who won their Maiden races at Nottingham. In recent years the profile and fixture list of Nottingham Racecourse has grown. In 2008, with the feature races live on BBC Television Colwick Park hosted the Epsom Spring Meeting including the Classic Trial while a new stand was being built at the home of the Derby, forcing the fixture to be rerouted. In 2014 it was awarded the prestigious Gold Standard by the Racehorse Owners Association in recognition of the upgrading and quality of its facilities. And in 2015 Nottingham will stage a record 23 race days including, for the first time, three ‘Listed’ Races of its own and  a series of handicaps that will be amongst the most valuable it has ever staged.

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