The racecourse hosts some of the most noteworthy sporting events on the British calendar and it is, as a result of its busy schedule, a leading horse racing ground in Britain if not Europe.
Racing meetings were recorded for the first time in 1715 when a lease was issued by the Yarmouth Corporation to an association of visionary innkeepers for some piece of land where the group could stage local race meetings. Events may well have taken place at Great Yarmouth before the recorded date. Nonetheless, it is generally believed that such activities, if any at all, must have been infrequent involving small groups of individuals from Norfolk.
Sports historians believe horse racing at Great Yarmouth must have been quite intermittent throughout the 18th century. Racing almost certainly coincided with the annual town fair.
Miscellaneous events such as donkey racing competitions and chasing a swine with a soap-stained tail were staged. In 1810 formal racing began. Records show meetings involving thoroughbred races and ample prize money at Great Yarmouth Racecourse from this date.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse, on the South Denes, became fully established shortly after. A two-day race meeting was convened in the late summer every year. From 1866 race fixtures increased. The continuous upward trend carried on from decade to decade until the long-established racing facility soared to its current glory as one of the world’s most influential horse riding amenities.
The most important event at Great Yarmouth is the John Musker Fillies' Stakes, staged over one mile and a quarter every year in September. Nevertheless, any of the racing events for two-year-olds can be chiefly instructive as some of these juveniles go on to participate in and win highly regarded races.
During the 1998 competitions, Dubai Millennium won his debut at Yarmouth extraordinarily, ably ridden by Frankie Dettori, prior to becoming one of the most accomplished horses to run for the Godolphin operation, proudly owned by the Dubai royal family. Since then, Great Yarmouth victors included Ouija Board, who further won the English and Irish Oaks before registering impressive, score at the Breeders Cup, the yearly international horse racing championships held in the USA. Wilko, Raven's Pass and Donativum were among the winners at Yarmouth headed for future Breeders Cup glory.
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Contact details: Great Yarmouth, Jellicoe Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 4AU
Tel: 01493 842527