Situated on Newmarket Heath in Suffolk, Newmarket Racecourses and the related equine industry that has grown up in and around the thriving market town that dates back to the year 1200 is the number one centre of thoroughbred horse racing, breeding and training on the planet. Newmarket has a history of horse racing going back to the 17th Century when the Monarch James 1st who enjoyed hunting and hawking on the Newmarket Heath had a grandstand constructed there to stage horse races for his pleasure. It was Charles II who was passionate about Newmarket, visiting it twice a year and riding in races personally who took the greatest steps to develop the importance of Newmarket as a racecourse by getting a parliamentary bill passed in 1665 laying down the rules of horse racing in writing and included the name of Newmarket. The Jockey Club was set up in 1750 at Newmarket and Jockey Club Racecourses now owns Newmarket Racecourses as well as 14 other prestigious racecourses in the UK re-investing the operating profits for the long term benefit of the industry.
Newmarket today has two splendid racecourses, the Rowley Mile for year round racing and the July course for summer races. They are both outstanding turf courses overlooked by magnificent facilities built for visitors to enjoy that include award winning restaurants and a conference centre. The Millennium Grandstand at Rowley Mile was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000 adding a truly luxurious feature to the racecourse. The economy of the town of Newmarket is based on the equine industry with 60 thoroughbred stud farms established in the area and 70 trainers working with around 2,500 horses.
Newmarket Racecourses host 28 racedays each year with some of the most prestigious Group 1 flat races in Britain taking place attended by thousands of spectators. The 2,000 Guinea Stakes dating back to the time of George III in 1809 is one of the most notable. Hundreds of thousands of visitors go to the ‘headquarters’ of the horse racing industry annually for the sheer pleasure of soaking up the ambience and many thousands go for the fabulous races and leave with unforgettable memories.