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Southwell Racecourse

Southwell
Official website
Location Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire
Coordinates Template:Coord/display/inline,title
Owned by Arena Leisure PLC
Screened on At The Races
Course type Flat(turf and all-weather)
National Hunt

Southwell Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located near Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England. It is one of only five racecourses in the UK to have an all-weather track (it is the only one with a fibresand surface). As fibresand is a mixture of sand and wispy fibres it is sometimes referred to as "spube", this being derived from the "s" of sand and the resemblance of a kind of human hair.

Southwell has an unglamorous reputation amongst racing people. This is illustrated by the old joke; "which three racecourses begin with the letter F? answer, Fakenham, Fontwell and f***ing Southwell!" The track holds mainly all-weather racing over the winter featuring poor quality horses, and added to its seeming long distance from any locations of note, gives it a reputation for being an unglamorous, tiring place to go for racing professionals. However, a lot of this reputation is similar to an old lower league football ground; people make fun, but secretly they love it and know it to be the backbone and the heartland of their sport.

The track is actually among the best looked after and most comfortable small Flat racing venues in the UK. The main hall, which houses bookmakers and several cheap food and drink outlets, is smartly done out in pale wood floors and leather sofas and quality high wood tables with large, comfortable leather stools. However cold it is outside, in here it is always warm and the crowd always seems happy and friendly. The Queen Mother Suite can also be hired on non-race days for conferences and wedding celebrations. The outdoor areas are compact and easy to get around, the hedges and grass around the parade rings are smart and attractive.

The racing is also of significance. The now unique fibresand racing surface is quite deep and so makes the track a good stamina test. Ability to stay the distance and fitness are therefore big advantages at Southwell. The track also often features many of the best and most hardworking jockeys through the winter, as well as plenty of high profile stars from time to time.

National Hunt racing also occurs here. In 2007 the Great Yorkshire (now Skybet) Chase was held at Southwell whilst Doncaster closed for redevelopment.

Southwell racecourse will always be associated with star girl jockey Hayley Turner , who grew up locally and had her first job in racing with a trainer based adjacent to the track.


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