Sandown Park Racecourse
Said to have been the late Queen Mother’s favourite racecourse, Sandown Park is undoubtedly one of the most well known venues in horse racing.
Based in Surrey, the track has been used for both jump and flat racing since 1875 and continues to host some of the biggest events in the racing calendar. Having witnessed some of the greatest contests and competitors in racing and indeed sporting history, it is unlikely that anybody visiting the track will be left disappointed.
Sandown Park Racecourse
Built in 1870, Sandown Park was an innovative and forward thinking venue in many respects. Not only was it one of the first purpose built racecourses, but it was also the first racecourse to be enclosed. The venue also featured an impressive main grandstand which enabled spectators to see the entire course without obstruction.
Nowadays the course is one of the busiest in the racing calendar, hosting jump, flat and mixed meetings. The latter of these meetings were on show in 1875 when Sandown Park held its first ever race fixture. This fixture (now known as the Whitbread Gold Cup), like many others in the venue’s rich history, is still going today.
Another famous long running fixture is the Eclipse Stakes. This was dreamt up by the-then managers of Sandown Park who, keen to spice up the racing calendar, set up a scheme whereby £115 would have to be paid in order to enter a horse, but the prize for the winner would be £10,000, a huge amount in 1886 when the race first took place.
Over the years, spectators at Sandown Park have been treated to some of the great moments in horse racing history. Three times Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Arkle triumphed at the venue, as did Desert Orchid, whose eight major victories at the course included his last ever victory in February 1991, just a few months before his retirement.
The venue is still one of the most modern in Britain, thanks largely to forward thinking managers, well aware that time does not stand still. The first major redevelopment took place in 1972, which included a 7,600 capacity stand. The new development was opened a year later and is still considered the perfect place to take in the race-day action.
The biggest redevelopment, however, was completed in 2002 at a cost of £23 million. This included, amongst other things, a complete refit of the Grandstand area and the construction of the new Eclipse Pavilion. It is good management like this that has made Sandown Park one of Britain’s best loved racecourses. In fact, in the late 1990s, the venue won the South East Racecourse of the Year award an incredible 10 years in a row.
Arguably the biggest event currently held at Sandown Park is the Gold Cup meeting that takes place at the end of April. It’s a two day event, featuring both jump and flat races, and brings to a close the jump season. Demand for tickets is always high and so it should be, for this course is not just modern and easily accessible, but is also the perfect setting for epic sporting events.
Sandown Park is one of the key venues in the racing calendar and is due to hold 29 meetings this year. These include Gold Cup meetings and the Totesport Masters.
The jump season runs until the end of April and resumes in November. In-between, Sandown Park will host a series of flat race meetings.
For a full list of the venue’s fixtures in 2008 and to buy tickets visit the official website.
Tickets for meetings at Sandown Park can be bought either on the day (at the course), or in advance from the venue’s website. Certain special events such as April’s Gold Cup meeting have higher ticket prices but for the majority of events advance ticket prices are as follows:
- Grandstand (entry only) – £15
- Grandstand (Sandown Jump Offer) – £17
- Premier Enclosure (entry only) – £22
- Premier Enclosure (Sandown Jump Offer) – £24
If buying tickets on the day, the prices are all increased by £3.
The Grandstand Sandown jump offer includes a drinks voucher and a Tote betting voucher. The Premier Enclosure Sandown Jump Offer includes a race card.
A variety of hospitality deals are also available. For more information visit the official website.
Sandown Park is one of the more relaxed racecourses when it comes to dress code and even in the Premier Enclosure the style is fairly casual. Be warned though, as there are still certain items of clothing that are not accepted. These include: torn jeans, trainers, non-tailored shorts, vests, football shirts and rugby shirts.
How to get there
Sandown Park is situated in the town of Esher, Surrey, approximately 12 miles from London Heathrow airport.
If travelling by car – Take the M25 exit at junction 10 and follow the A3 towards London; exit onto the A307 and follow the brown venue signs to Sandown Park.
Parking – The Portsmouth Road car park is off the A307. Esher High Street is directly in front of the main entrance. It costs £5 to book a space on a race day. The car park also has free spaces for blue badge holders. Alternatively, parking is free in the centre of the venue, which can be reached from the More Lane entrance.
If travelling by train – Esher railway station is approximately 10 minutes walk from the main entrance. Turn left out of the station onto Station Road and then right at the T junction to join the A307 Portsmouth Road. The entrance to Sandown Park is on the right hand side.
Helicopter – For those of you wishing to make a more spectacular entrance, Sandown Park also has a helipad. However if you wish to arrive by helicopter you must ensure that you let the venue know in advance.
For extra information on the racecourse or for any other queries visit the official website or use any of the following methods of contact:
- Sandown Park
- Portsmouth Road
- KT10 9AJ
- Tel: 01372 464348
- Fax: 01372 461334
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org