Welcome to our guide to Fontwell Racecourse. We explore this great small jumps racecourse, looking at its history, a guide to track unique track, hotel picks, travel info, betting guides and the weather!
- 1 Overview of Fontwell Park Racecourse
- 2 History of Fontwell Races
- 3 Main Races and Meetings at Fontwell Park
- 4 Fontwell Racecourse Map
- 5 Fontwell Racecourse Address
- 6 How to Get To Fontwell Races
- 7 Hotels Near Fontwell Park Racecourse
- 8 Other Events at Fontwell Park Racecourse
- 9 Best Fontwell Races Betting Sites
- 10 Fontwell Weather Forecast
- 11 Summary of Fontwell Park
- 12 Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Overview of Fontwell Park Racecourse
Based in West Sussex and owned by the ARC Racing Group, Fontwell plays host National Hunt jump meets all year around. This packed fixture list is paired with a variety of unrelated external events, making the racecourse a centrepiece of its local area.
Fontwell is a relaxed racecourse, with no strict dress code. You’ll be permitted to wear whatever makes you comfortable and will protect you from the year-round elements.
The Grandstand is arguably the ideal place to situate yourself for the day, as this stand enjoyed a multimillion-pound renovation within the last decade.
History of Fontwell Races
Fontwell Park was opened in 1924 by Alfred Day, a local horse trainer. The track was laid in an oval for hurdle racing but uniquely the chase course is a figure-of-eight. This remains the case today, making Fontwell the only track of this shape in the UK.
Fontwell has a truly regal history, as it saw Queen Elizabeth II (then ‘just’ Princess Elizabeth) secure her first ever victory back in 1949.
Main Races and Meetings at Fontwell Park
Fontwell does not take an off-season – the track hosts National Hunt races from January to December, with the exception of a month off in July. A typical fixture list for Fontwell Racecourse will look like this:
- January – January kicks off the calendar year with a meet dubbed the Beat the Blues Raceday.
- February – as we enter February, Fontwell has arguably the biggest month in its diary. There are two afternoon meets earlier in the month, both classed as Winter Afternoon Racing. It’s the National Spirit Hurdle at the end of the month that captures the imagination, though. Named after a regular winner from the 1940s, this Grade 2 jump race is considered a trial for Cheltenham’s Stayers’ Hurdle.
- March – March is equally action-packed, with another three meets. The start of the month sees the last Winter Racing Afternoon, while the climax of March hosts the first Spring Racing Afternoon of the year. Sandwiched in between is a St. Patrick’s Raceday, where traditional Irish music complements seven jump races.
- April – Assuming that Easter falls in April, there is barely a chance to catch your breath. Fontwell hosts the Easter Eggstravangza, an all-ages celebration packed with children’s entertainment.
- May – Another three events fall in May. Two Spring Racedays are followed by another Family Fun Day over the second Bank Holiday Weekend of the month.
- June – Things start to calm down a little in June, with two traditional Summer Racedays.
- August – After taking a break in July, Fontwell returns with a bang in August. The month hosts two events – a Summer Social, and Ladies Evening later in the month. All the usual glamour is to be expected at the latter event.
- September – September celebrates every parent’s favourite time of year – kids return to school. The occasion is marked by a Back to School Family Fun Day at the start of the month, packed with additional entertainment.
- October – October opens with the October Festival, a two-day celebration of National Hunt racing that typically unfolds over the first weekend of October. There’s also an Autumn Racing Afternoon later in the month.
- November – November is another gala month at Fontwell. An Autumn Racing Afternoon is a great way to banish blues about the changing weather, but the real excitement comes from The Southern National Handicap Chase mid-month. Fontwell’s biggest event of the year, this race is an endurance test that attracts the very best jockeys and runners.
- December – Get into the festive spirit with a Christmas Jumper Raceday at Fontwell in early December. If you’re sick to the back teeth of family arguments by Boxing Day, this date provides the final meet of Fontwell’s calendar year.
Always be sure to investigate that a racing event is going ahead before making arrangements and check an official fixture list released by Fontwell Racecourse directly. All race meets are subject to change due to a wide array of external circumstances.
Fontwell Racecourse Map
Fontwell Park is a left handed and sharp jumping track. The chase course is an usual figure of eight circuit. The hurdles course is more traditional and oval. Both the hurdles course and chase one have a stiff uphill finish, particularly in testing ground. Fences are considered easy but, given the unique nature of the track and the fact that it has steep descents and climbs, course specialists often do well. On the chase course, the lead rarely changes hands on the run in as it is short and on a bend.
Fontwell Racecourse Address
The official correspondence address of Fontwell Park Racecourse is:
Fontwell Park Racecourse
How to Get To Fontwell Races
- By road – You’ll find Fontwell Racecourse on the roundabout that links the A27 and A29, located between the cathedral city of Chichester and the market town of Arundel. Just leave the roundabout to get onto the A29 (toward Bognor Regis) and follow the road for around 400 yards. You’ll find the track on the right.
- By rail – if traveling by rail, you’ll need to head into Barnham. This station is around ten minutes from the racecourse in a taxi, or you can take a free shuttle bus laid on by the track. Barnham is served directly by most major UK railway stations.
- By bus – You could also take a bus from Brighton, though this is a more time-consuming way to travel – you’ll spend over an hour on the road.
Hotels Near Fontwell Park Racecourse
The closest hotel to Fontwell Racecourse is the Hilton Avison Park, which is around 1.5 miles from the track. If you want a low-cost option in a celebrated tourist spot, try the Premier Inn Bognor Regis, though you’ll be travelling over two miles from here. Beyond this, you have the Goodwood Hotel in Chichester (3.5 miles away) or a couple of options in Arundel (4.5 miles ) – The Norfolk Arms or The Swan. For the best rates and availability check out Booking.com below:
Other Events at Fontwell Park Racecourse
Fontwell is not just home to fantastic National Hunt racing. It is also available for private hire and hosts additional events throughout the year. Highlights include outdoor cinema screenings of classic movies, stand-up comedy performances and a weekly car boot sale every Sunday between March and October.
Best Fontwell Races Betting Sites
At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals with some amazing offers for new customers:
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Fontwell Weather Forecast
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Fontwell:
Summary of Fontwell Park
A small, country and hardy course, Fontwell plays host to national hunt racing all year round. The main races The Chichester Handicap Chase and National Spirit are their highlight races but racing is always competitive. It boasts a unique chase course whilst the jockey & trainer combo of the Moores are always feared. It’s a charming, busy course, a short trip from London and Brighton, it is definitely worth a visit at any time of year. Take a trip!
Other Racecourses in The UK and Ireland
Our team as of September 2020 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:
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