Brighton Racecourse Guide

Situated high above the southern coast seaside town of Brighton, Brighton Racecourse is an almost unique track amongst the UK collection, perched on the highest point of the South Downs and providing a stiff test for horses and jockeys due to its’ configuration. Shaped like a horseshoe and with similarities to the famous Epsom racecourse - home of two Classics - Brighton is one of the trickiest courses in the country to ride. It is one of only a handful of tracks in the country not to feature a complete circuit.

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Brighton Major Meetings

Due to the track’s relatively small stature in comparison to more noted luminaries as Ascot, Newmarket and Goodwood, Brighton’s racecards throughout the season are normally small-field affairs with relatively poor prizemoney on offer. Forget Group races here, and even Listed contests are absent from Brighton’s racing calendar; but the track does host a competitive handicap during its’ three-day August Festival in the shape of the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy.

Brighton Track Characteristics

The racecourse at Brighton sits on the South Downs and its’ altitude offers some stunning views across the seaside city; the course itself is not a full circuit but is shaped like a horseshoe, undulating in nature and the track can only host races up to one and a half miles in length.

Quite sharp in nature the track also cambers towards the inner rail, leading to horses leaning into each other and traffic problems are not uncommon with plenty of hard luck stories. The course undulates throughout with an uphill climb to the finish which is quite stiff and it is important for runners to be ‘able to last home.

The chalky nature of the soil means the track drains well and allied with the course’s altitude the ground at Brighton is rarely too testing; of more concern is the rolling fog that often envelopes the track making viewing quite difficult for racegoers. Due to the nature of the course, small and nimble types are often more suited to the topography of the track than long-striding galloping types. Pay particular attention to horses which have won at Brighton before; the course can be regarded as a specialist course.

Brighton Draw Bias

Despite its topography and camber, there isn’t much of a draw bias at Brighton and the track is pretty fair although in sprints over the minimum trip it can pay to favour those drawn towards the stands, especially in softer ground and in larger fields when runners tend to head towards the rail on that side. 

Over longer distances the draw doesn’t appear to have much bearing on a result although as with sprint races runners do tend to cross towards the stands’ rail on softer ground. 

Brighton Leading Trainers

Trainers to note over the past five years are Richard Hannon and Eve Johnson Houghton, both of whom boast decent strike-rates at the venue and both trainers are in profit. In more recent times Marco Botti, Marcus Tregoning and Gay Kelleway have amassed solid records at the seaside venue, each saddling plenty of winners and returning healthy profits for their backers.

Brighton Leading Jockeys

Tom Marquand and Rossa Ryan have both ridden the course particularly well in the five-year period; each showing a strike-rate in excess of 20% and a profit return to £1 level stake. Indeed Marquand’s profit at the track is in three figures so he’s always worth a second look. 

Hollie Doyle also does well at Brighton with the rider also in profit and not far behind husband Tom with regards to strike-rate. More recently Thomas Greatrex and Saffie Osborne have emerged as riders to note at Brighton; Thomas in particular boasts a particularly impressive return at the time of writing.

Brighton Track History

Racing at Brighton can be traced back to 1783 when the first official race was recorded under the orders of the Duke Of Cumberland. King George IV visited the track the following year, helping to cement the course’s future. The track once extended further than its’ current configuration and reportedly held races up to four miles with runners starting at the winning post before racing the wrong way and looping back.

After a period of decline, the course was revived when the railway was developed, allowing for easier access to the races from London. A further period of declination blighted the course in the 80s and 90s before its’ fortunes were revived with the purchase of the course by Northern Racing. 

Brighton Racecourse Address

The official racecourse address for Brighton racecourse is:

Brighton Racecourse
Freshfield Road
East Sussex

How To get to Brighton Racecourse

If you’re planning a visit to Brighton Racecourse, here’s how to get there.

By car: Brighton Racecourse is situated one mile from the town centre and is well sign-posted on approach from the A23.  Car parking at the course is free.

By Rail: Brighton can be reached in less than one hour from London; Brighton train station is well-served by trains from London and surrounding areas with trains from Eastbourne, Hastings and Portsmouth.

By air: Gatwick Airport is around thirty minutes away by train . Helicopters can land at the racecourse if prearranged.