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Craven meeting

The arch at Tattersalls, moved from Knightsbridge where the bloodstock auctions started 250 years ago

Frankie biography from Jockey Club event for young authors, which Frankie attended, on second day of Craven meeting

Sheik Hamdan, surely one of Newmarket's best owners over the decades, receiving a prize

More on what happens - soon

Guineas meeting

This is what happens next - Frankie Dettori wins the 2000 Guineas on Galileo Gold - downloadable video (10 seconds, 6.4Mb).

I also saw him win this race on Mark of Esteem in 1996.


The head-on stand, the oldest part of the Rowley Mile racecourse buildings

Galileo Gold: here I am, a winner

Galileo Gold's trainer, Hugo Palmer, said:

I knew he was good and I was confident he would be in the first three, but he took my breath away.

It was a great performance from an impossible draw and in an impossible race, and he did it all on his own and showed what a good champion he is.

Town Plate

The Town Plate is the oldest race in the world run under modern racing rules.

Set up in 1666 by King Charles II with the stipulation that the race should be run forever it is contested over the three and half miles of the Round Course by amateur riders from Newmarket. Charles II won the first race on Old Rowley, a nickname by which he himself became known.

The Town Plate was run for the 347th time on the 7th July.

It was won by Sheik Fahad Al-Thani on Almagest who passed local MP [now Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport], Matthew Hancock, half a furlong from home in the three and three-quarter mile race.


The Fitzwilliam Museum, which is also having anniversary celebrations, will be lending exhibits to the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art which opens in Palace House and stables in September

Palace House from the garden with its famous projecting window

Restored fountain in the Rothschild yard


At the highest grossing Tattersalls yearling sale ever (6 October 2016), yearlings made their way back into global high fashion

Downloadable mp3 (2.3 Mb - turn up volume).


Part of the restored King's Yard at night

Palace House Mews

Opening night of the Society of Equestrian Artists' annual Horses in Art show with oil painting, Spring, by Sorrel Penman, winner of the John King Young Artist Award 2016, in the foreground


Lit up like the....mansion on the hill

for the Rotary Club of Newmarket's 32nd Carols at Tattersalls

Galileo Gold retired in late spring 2017.



I always remember 1666 as the year of the Great Fire of London because it gave Christopher Wren the opportunity to build so many churches in the rebuilding process but perhaps I should remember it for something else. It was the year Charles II started the first modern racing on Newmarket Heath and Newmarket is celebrating the 350th anniversary year.

Tattersalls is in its 250th year and the Jockey Club is 16 years older. Both were founded in London but soon moved to Newmarket.

The Heath has not been grazed or ploughed for 350 years so the gallops on 2500 acres owned by the Jockey Club, or canters as they are called now, are meant to be pillow soft for training, something you are unlikely to get quite the same elsewhere.

The first meeting of the year at Newmarket is the Craven meeting, with three days of racing from Tuesday 12th April 2016 this year.

Before that, though, for those interested in seeing the two year old bloodstock for sale at Tattersalls on race days run first, there is the breeze up on the Rowley Mile course on the Monday morning.

As the anniversary year progresses more will be written up here but we can start with a snapshot of the breeze up.

Lonhro colt breezes past the furlong marker

Passing the post

Lonhro got his name because he was born 'tiny but perfect'.

Lonhro had two colts in the sales but as he is an Antipodean stallion I never saw him race. The colt pictured, made 50,000 guineas at the Tattersalls sales on the Tuesday, where some good prices were achieved.

Tiny Rowland's company was Lonrho. The racehorse was named with the spelling deliberately the other way around - Lonhro.

Tiny, as far as I know, never bought a racehorse other than in Africa - it was not his thing - but at least I saw him a few times peering down from the sundeck of Hansa, for which he had acquired the best mooring in Europe. It was his place to escape - where the English press, of which he owned a part, would never look for him - and he broke off journeys back to England to stop there. During one of his great corporate struggles the press was all awash with what part of Africa he was in - which was rather improbable because I had just spotted him a few hours before.

Born to run. If you are born in Newmarket you might be - and people will time you too.

Dutch Art filly (on screen). At least I've seen her sire and some of his progeny race.

Rowley Mile

Last year Kylie sold out 22,000 tickets for evening racing and concert on the July Course in 47 minutes - unprecedently fast. Five days would be par for the course or five weeks in the past but timing is everything here and it has done her no harm as she sang for H.M. The Queen on 16th May to mark her official 90th birthday.

July Course stage

That Kylie sold out so quickly last year elicited a few grumbles so a conscious effort has been made this year to involve everyone locally who wants to be involved in the Newmarket 350 events.

Downloadable video (24 seconds, 14.1Mb) of Medicean filly breezing on Rowley Mile.

To date, Medicean is sire of the winners of 1538 races including Dutch Art.

Spitfire replica at the 2016 Guineas meeting

Newmarket Racecourse has always had global reach on Guineas days

Exclusive: Whilst the television cameras were preoccupied with the earlier race we got the first footage of some of the 2000 Guineas runners together in the paddock.

Downloadable video (67 seconds, 37.6 Mb). The winner, Galileo Gold, is the second horse to appear. He came out first and probably looked the best throughout. Proud, lots of character.

Galileo Gold. Out first, no one there and he knows we like him

Never say never. Soon to 'come trailing clouds of glory'

(Win a few more and Emmylou Harris' Gold would make the perfect soundtrack for the film. Born to Run and Ballad Of a Runaway Horse are not bad either for a racing movie. If one is ever going to better movie Seabiscuit it is going to need some star quality music!)

View from stage of winning post, 2016

Sir Michael Stoute with Spatial, the winner of the first race on 26th August (downloadable video 6 seconds, 4.3 Mb). Winning jockey Ryan Moore is in the foreground with Frankie Dettori, not a rider in the race, behind, outside the weighing room.

The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art is scheduled to have an official opening in November 2016 but from the third week in September it has had an early 'soft opening'.

The sporting art collection now benefits greatly from loans from all over the country, expanding it beyond the old permanent collection that used to live in limited space in the Jockey Club Rooms. It now occupies nearly all of Palace House - the remnants of an old palace which it is amazing to see again after all its assignments to different uses over the past decade (e.g. as a venue for weddings) and now finally restored to tip-top condition.

The Palace House stables have been restored and will have retired racehorses living within a working yard that reflects the early twentieth century.

Entrance to Palace House Stables

One of the first three equine residents in the restored Rothschild yard,
with Channel 4 television in on the act

Amongst extensive changes, the paddock behind the yard gains a
horsewalker and a polo ground

Lot 427, the 2.6 million guineas Dubawi colt

I did not want to cross in front of the Dubawi colt as he was about to go into the sale ring (6 October 2016) so I stood 2 metres away just staring at his ears and the top of his head for three minutes as he took longer waiting to go in than I thought. Everyone looked happy and the rest is history.

Ballade of a runaway horse: Mrs Danvers - now seven races, seven wins - before setting the new nine furlong course record for two year olds on the Rowley Mile course (7 October 2016).

Downloadable video (12.4 Mb, 21 seconds) of Mrs Danvers in the winners' enclosure.

On 3 November 2016, H.M. The Queen visited Newmarket to unveil a bronze group (relating to the Silver Jubilee of 1977), at Birdcage Walk near the racecourse, in honour of her 90th birthday in 2016 and her long connection with the town and to open the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in the historic centre of the town.

Short videos of the royal arrival at the racecourse and departure from Birdcage Walk.

Also Newmarket High Street.

New gallery at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art

Interactive gallery

Frankel watching over the restored King's Yard on benefactors' night

Audience, town band and five choirs ready for carols in the Tattersalls sale ring