Wednesday presents us with another busy afternoon. There are meetings taking place at Bath, Pontefract, Kempton, Yarmouth and Sligo (Ireland). Action can also be found at Brighton, where the first of 8 races is scheduled for 1:50pm.
The best race on the card should be the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy Handicap, which will feature the likes of Lord Clenaghcastle, Helfire, Exceeding Power, Cricklewood Green and Admirable Art.
Racing At Brighton
The racecourse at Brighton is just a mile away from the famous holiday town. Brighton is in the English county of Sussex and on the south-coast of England. Due to the location, weather tends to be much milder in the winter and summers contain plenty of long warm days. Brighton Racecourse is owned by the Arena Racing Company.
The precise location of the venue is on Whitehawk Hill, which can be found on the edge of the picturesque South Downs. Brighton Racecourse is approximately 400 feet above sea level. It is a horseshoe-shaped track and the course distance is 1.5 miles. Unusually, the runners and riders do not complete a full circuit of the course at Brighton. However, it is not unique in this regard and you will find a similarly-shaped track at Epsom – the home of the English Derby.
The 4-furlong finishing straight begins with a very steep descent, before the horses have to dig deep and find the stamina required for the final incline. Only flat racing takes place at Brighton (as with the majority of racecourses in the South of England). Hurdles races were held here in previous years, but haven’t been for a long time now. Brighton is a left-handed course.
Racing has been taking place at Brighton since the early-1700s. The first public racing was organised by the Duke of Cumberland, in the 1780s. Members of the armed forces, stationed nearby, were the first to race against one another.
Legend has it that King George IV actually invented hurdle racing at Brighton. The story goes that he was out riding with friends when they happened upon a number of animal pens. The King ordered that they race across the field, jumping the pen-fences that stood in their way!
Trials & Tribulations
The first grandstand fell victim to a terrible fire, in the latter part of the 18th-Century. The blame was laid squarely at the feet of a family of beggars, who had been given permission to live in the grandstand!
There was more disruption in the year of 1805. A local farmer was irate that he had not been presented with the traditional gift of wine, prior to the meeting. Fuming, he threatened to plough the course, but was thwarted by a press gang who put the frighteners on him! It had the desired effect and racing took place, as usual.
The racecourse became rather unfashionable, after the Royal Family stopped attending in the early 1800s. However, things picked up again when a railway line was built that linked Brighton to London. A new stand was constructed and a new race was introduced – the Brighton Cup. Brighton is still regarded as a fairly minor British racecourse, but most racegoers enjoy the trip and it can get very busy on sunny days.
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