A small but perfectly formed National Hunt racecourse, Plumpton Racecourse is little-known but well-reputed and was awarded the Best Small Racecourse in the South 2018.
Plumpton Racecourse is a 5,000-person capacity course that hosts 17 jump racing fixtures from September to May every year.
Known as a ‘hidden gem’ in the English horseracing scene, Plumpton Racecourse is one of the smallest racecourses in the country but certainly no stranger to drama and competition!
Situated one kilometre north of the East Sussex village of Plumpton, and one kilometre south of Plumpton Green, Plumpton Racecourse sits opposite Plumpton Rugby FC and Plumpton railway station.
The track at Plumpton Racecourse is left-handed, tight and undulating, that favours handy sorts well due to its sharp curves and measures just over a mile. The finish is slightly uphill and races tend to start in earnest before heating up just before the end. The course ranks high for casualties, but this tends to reflect more in the age of the horses raced there, usually novices, rather than the quality of the track itself. The fence at the top of the hill is particularly tricky and has caught out many a racer! The hurdles course sits directly outside the chase course.
Plumpton Racecourse is reputed as a ‘nursery course’, meaning it is where trainers bring their most promising novices to challenge and train them to pave the way in their career.
The course may be small and of low capacity, but the facilities are as competitive and modern as you’d expect to find at any racecourse in the country! The hospitality suites and grandstand offer spectacular views across the course and caters for conferences, meetings and events. Plumpton Racecourse is also a popular wedding venue for unions of all sizes – with larger parties taking place in giant marquees in the centre of the track. Whilst many racecourses offer wedding hosting, Plumpton Racecourse is one of the most popular, seeing couples travel from all over the country to tie the knot in picturesque East Sussex surroundings!
Horseracing is documented at Plumpton Racecourse as far back at 1884. It was founded by Thomas Henry Case back in 1876, but used exclusively for hare coursing for the first eight years of its life. As horseracing gained popularity across the country, Case extended the venue’s facilities for horses too. The first few years hosted very little horseracing (for a variety of reasons), but in 1889, the hare coursing ceased and it became exclusively a horse racecourse.
Plumpton Racecourse had a chequered history of racing until 1961, when it was purchased by Isodore Kermin, who invested in the venue and upgraded and developed its facilities. It was sold again in 1998 to Peter Savill and Adrian Pratt, who continued to invest in the course and ensure it was protected from property developers looking to purchase – and permanently close – the site.
In 2009, Plumpton Racecourse hit industry headlines by being the place for Tony McCoy to ride his 3,000th winner, on Restless D’Artaix, trained by Nicky Henderson.
Main Races and Events
The biggest race held at Plumpton Racecourse is the Sussex National Handicap Chase, run over three miles and five furlongs every January. It is reputed to be a good indicator for late performance in the season, with several horses going on to win bigger races later on. One such example is 2007 winner Dunbrody Millar, who then won the Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree.
Other notable races include the December Novice’s Chase, run over two miles and one furlong.
How To Get To Plumpton Racecourse
Plumpton Racecourse is easily accessible despite its somewhat rural location, and is well signposted from the M23/A23 and A27. The railway station opposite is served by frequent trains from London Victoria to Lewes, making it an easy daytrip for many – and it’s walkable from the station in about three minutes!
On racedays, the course is served by a direct minibus service from Brighton. This is run by a private firm, Chariots Chaffeurs, and is popular, but must be booked in advance. A return ticket is £5 and can be arranged by contacting the firm directly.
Hotels near Plumpton Racecourse
Most people travelling to Plumpton Racecourse do so just for the day, but there are some hotel options for those looking to stay over. The nearest accommodation is The Bull Inn in Ditchingham, but also nearby you’ll find The Blacksmith’s Arms, Premier Inn Burgess Hill and Horsted Place.
For all of the usual chain hotel options, Brighton offers pretty much all you can name – and there’s lots of independent accommodation and AirBNBs in the city, too.
Betting Shops Local to Plumpton Racecourse
Plumpton Racecourse has Tote kiosks, as well as two branches of William Hill – one in the Lewes Stand and one in the Paddock Bar. On-site independent bookies can be found outside the Grandstand.
There are no betting shops in Plumpton or Plumpton Green, but Brighton, Hove and the surrounding suburbs have almost every brand available: including, but by no means limited to; PaddyPower, Betfred, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes and Pure Profit.
The non-racing pinnacle of Plumpton Racecourse’s calendar really is the grand weddings held there. The expert events team can cater for up to 5,000 people, so there’s a breadth of events and options on offer. Whilst names won’t be divulged, it is known that several celebrities and other such big names have been married at Plumpton!
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 Plumpton:
Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Racecourse Guide
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Park Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse Guide