The racecourse in Warwick, in the UK, ran its Virgin Bet Kingmaker Chase day on 12th February 2022, with a large crowd of enthusiastic racegoers attending on a cold and very windy day.
The course, founded in 1707, is run by the Jockey Club and was created after the catastrophic fire in 1694 that burned down a quarter of Warwick town. The racecourse was built to bring in a better class of well-heeled gentry and professionals into the newly re-built town, which would be on their doorstep.
It is not quite the oldest racecourse in the world, with that being Chester in the North West of the UK, which was founded in 1539.
Lord Brooke, who was residing at Warwick Castle donated £15 “towards making a horse race”. This gesture has meant that horse racing has been in operation for over three centuries, with only wars stopping the races with Warwick being a prisoner of war camp for Italian detainees in the Second World War.
One famous racehorse that won in 1967 as a two-year-old was Red Rum who went on to win the Grand National at Aintree in 1973, 1974 & 1977.
Since 2014 Warwick has been a jumps course only, after also running flat racing up to that year.
The day started off with entertainment from The Peas, after entering the main gate and then the Horses for courses tour which give some of the histories of the course and then showed us around the venue including going up close to the two types of fences, Hurdle, and Steeplechase, with the latter being larger and taller fences.
On the race card were 6 races during the day with the first race starting at 1 pm, including at 2:05 the Class 1 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase, with a prize fund of £52,000, with nearly £30,000 to the winner.
Before the racing started there was a parade of retired horses in the paddock ring, including Gold Cup winner Coneygree and Grand National winner Pineau De Re.
Before each race, the area in front of the grandstands was busy with punters placing their bets with bookmakers, these days using laptops and LED screens with the prices rather than Ticktack men of times past and odd written in chalk on blackboards!
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