The Winter Festival (25, 26 and 27 November) at Newbury Racecourse features three days of quality Jump racing culminating with Saturday’s historic Hennessy Gold Cup. The Winter Festival is guaranteed to feature horseracing’s biggest stars and is one of the ‘don’t miss’ events of the winter social and sporting scene.
Off the track there is also something for everyone, including the Winter Shopping Village featuring over all three days, perfect for a spot of Christmas shopping in between races.
Under a new initiative launched this summer, aimed at new visitors as well as seasoned racegoers, Newbury Racecourse’s Inside Track aims to make everyone’s raceday as enjoyable and informative as possible. Available across all three days the Inside Track features a free handy racing guide, including the runners and riders as well as new racegoer masterclasses and information points across the course.
Winter Festival Overview
Day 1 Thursday 25 November – Newbury Day
Newbury and Greenham parishes go FREE!
Newbury Racecourse welcomes the first day of its Jump season on Day 1 of the Winter Festival. Plus, there is FREE Premier entry for Newbury or Greenham residents! For new racegoers, there will be plenty going on with Jump racing masterclasses, displays, as well as behind the scenes tours and trips to the start. Newbury and Greenham residents must reserve their Free tickets on 01635 40015 by Thursday 18 November.
The day kicks off with seven adrenalin-charged Jump races, featuring the Grade 2 GPG Novices Chase, won last year by the Paul Nicholls-trained Michel le Bon, with the Champion Jockey AP McCoy on board.
The Winter Festival is a renowned for attracting celebrities from all walks of life. Cold Feet star James Nesbitt was spotted last year on Day 1 after his horse Riverside Theatre made a winning seasonal debut in the Rooney Hall Novices Chase, also a feature race on the first day of the Winter Festival.
For the younger Newbury racegoer, the launch of Tractor Ted’s latest live action DVD for children, ‘Tractor Ted Meets the Horses’ will also feature at 11.50am beside the pre-parade ring. Children will be able to meet Ted and watch the film and there will be activities such as colouring and a simulated horse equisizer.
The new film shows a day-in-the-life of a racehorse complete with songs, reading and counting games, presented on-screen by children’s favourite, Tractor Ted. The film has been made at one of the country’s leading racing yards, Park House Stables, Kingsclere, providing pre-school children with a fascinating insight into the specialist care of racehorses and their interaction with the countryside. The film has also been made with the support of Racing to School, a British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust programme.
Day 2 Friday 26 November – Gentlemen’s Day
The scene will be set for a day of top class sporting action on Day 2, by the Vine and Craven Hounds and Hunt horses, who will parade before racing. Racegoers will also have the chance to meet with the hounds and find out about the historic art of hunting.
The quality continues with the Fullers London Pride Novices Chase labelled as the feature race of the day, which was won last year by exciting chaser Punchestowns trained locally by leading trainer Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty.
Furthermore, fashion experts will be scouting the course for candidates for the Winter Style competition to find the best dressed gentleman, with plenty of great prizes up for grabs including an Austin Reed Q Club membership.
PLEASE NOTE: Race times have been changed for this day. Click here for further information
Day 3 Saturday 27 November – Hennessy Gold Cup Day – NOW INCLUDING THE FIGHTING FIFTH HURDLE
The historic Hennessy Gold Cup culminates the Winter Festival. Last year Denman won a vintage renewal of the stamina-sapping race under top Irish Jockey Ruby Walsh, marking Denman’s second win in the big race. With crowd favourites Denman, Madison Du Berlais and Carruthers all earmarked for the race alongside their younger competitors Diamond Harry and Weird Al the scene is set for a mouthwatering contest.
The Grade 1 sportingbet.com Long Distance Hurdle, scheduled just before the Hennessy Gold Cup, is also renowned for producing top staying hurdlers, with recent Cheltenham Festival Ladbrokes World Hurdle winners Big Buck’s, Inglis Drever and Baracouda all belonging to its roll of honour.
A parade of former of Hennessy Gold Cup champions will kickstart a fantastic day’s racing, with old favourites such as Sunny Bay, Strong Flow and Gingembre making special guest appearances.
The show still goes on……
The inaugural Doncaster Bloodstock Sales National Hunt Breeze Up Sale will feature shortly after racing has finished on Saturday 27 November.
There will be 52 three-year-old racehorses, by leading sires including Flemensfirth, Milan, Oscar, Presenting, Sleeping Car and Westerner, in the spotlight and up for auction. The sale is the first of its kind to be held at Newbury Racecourse and all are welcome to attend. The sale is fantastic way of witnessing where some of the potential stars of Jump racing’s future begin their journey. (All lots will breeze on the racecourse at 10.30am on Friday 26 November. Further information at www.dbsauctions.com).
Racegoers who experienced the queue for the Mahiki After-Party on Hennessy Gold Cup Day last year will know that it’s the hottest ticket in horseracing!
This year Newbury Racecourse has teamed up with The Outside Chance over all three days of the Winter Festival. The venue has been designed as a suitable watering-hole where racegoers can relax during racing. This of course includes a spacious bar, comfortable seating, large plasma screens and great food.
On Saturday night the Hennessy after-party will bring down the curtain on the three days. Whilst racegoers are counting their winnings and relaxing over a Hennessy hot toddy or a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, the venue will transform into the popular Chelsea hotspot – Crazy Larrys, with hits being played late into the night. Entry tickets after 8pm cost £20.
Pictured top: Champion Jockey AP McCoy prepares for Gentlemen’s Day at Newbury’s Winter Festival 2010
There is limited availability on tickets over all three days. Tickets start from £18 with limited availability in restaurants on Thursday 25 November from £60 pp. For further information and to book tickets visit newbury-racecourse.co.uk/winterfestival or call 01635 40015.