Warwick Racecourse Hospitality
Warwick is one of the country’s most popular racecourses and hosts some of the best National Hunt racing, including the Kingmaker Chase and the Classic Chase. We are delighted to provide Warwick Racecourse hospitality packages for our Christmas Race Day. This allows you to experience all the benefits of race sponsorship, whilst enjoying first-class hospitality. The perfect way to entertain your valued clients and guests.
Warwick Racecourse is a course rich in tradition and heritage, one which has certainly played its part in the history of horse racing – most notably when it became the first course to include a jump race in its programme, establishing National Hunt racing as it is known today.
Nestled next to Warwick Castle, the racecourse is one of the oldest in the country with racing being traced back to as early as 1694, when the sport was introduced to the market town in the hope of attracting wealthy professionals to help rebuild the area’s wealth after the devastating Great Fire of Warwick which burned for six hours and devastated a large number of properties.
The most famous name to grace the course was the legendary Red Rum, who ran once over the flat in 1967, the same year in which the course was bought by The Jockey Club, who continue to host a full racing calendar all year round.
With Jumps meetings taking place on weekdays and weekends, afternoons and evenings, the racecourse has something for everybody, offering excellent hospitality in the form of raceday packages, elegant hospitality suites, marquees and private boxes.
The first grandstand worthy of the name was opened at the 1809 September meeting and by 1815, a local guide book felt justified in proclaiming: “The Race Course is esteemed one of the best in the kingdom.”
If no invitation had been received to make up a party at one of the country houses in the locale, the gentlemen of the turf would converge on Warwick and take rooms in one of the town’s taverns. A typical day would begin with a splendid ‘public’ breakfast at the Court House in Jury Street.
Racing’s popularity grew and in October 1825, The Sporting Magazine recorded: “At Warwick Races there was a larger concourse of spectators than was ever witnessed at any former meeting. On the second day it was calculated there could not have been less than 50,000 persons present.”
It was the birth of jump racing or steeple chasing that brought the most enthusiastic crowds to Warwick. During this period the steeple chasing craze was spreading, and races were being organised up and down the country during the hunting season.
It was at the spring meeting of 1831 that Warwick can lay claim to being the first British racecourse to include a race over obstacles at an established meeting. This came in the form of a hurdle race over two miles and six flights, making it the earliest jump race result to be found on the racing calendar.
The middle decades of the nineteenth century represented the zenith of racing popularity in Warwickshire. Crowds well in excess of 30,000 were regularly achieved at Warwick’s September meeting and the course was patronised by the elite of the racing world.
But that was to change for the worst.
In the 1870s Warwick Races was rocked by a betting storm, where threats of prosecution abounded. In a letter to The Sportsman of April 3, 1879, it was remarked how attendance of the country gentry at Warwick Races had fallen, “and no doubt this has been caused by the sharpers and roughs swarming the course”.
Racing at Warwick was to survive though.
Continued improvements to the track and facilities at Warwick ensured that 300 years of racing were celebrated in 2007.
Many notable jockeys have raced at Warwick, including Lester Piggott and John Francombe.
Today it remains a popular, friendly course where people go for a fun day out.
And it is very convenient being just a five-minute walk away from the town centre.
Some interesting facts include:
- Warwick Racecourse was closed during World War II so Italian POWs could be accommodated.
- In the 19th century, race meetings were accompanied by funfairs, sideshows and visits to the theatre.
- The racecourse car park apparently lies along one of the county’s most important geological faults, violently active in the distant geological past and perhaps responsible for the Warwick earthquake of September 2000.