Sandown Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Sandown Park Racecourse. In this section we explore this brilliant dual purpose flat and national hunt racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, top hotel picks, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!


Sandown Races

Overview

Sandown, in Esher, Surrey is a superb racecourse, in the outer London suburbs, offering racing all year round. Every year it hosts five grade one National Hunt meetings and Group 1 flat meeting. It is a popular, diverse and versatile venue open almost every day of the year – even when racing isn’t on!

Sandown Park is one of fifteen racecourses in the UK owned and operated by the Jockey Club, and it is a major events venue in the local area. Racing here takes place from any distance from five furlongs on the flat to over three miles over jumps. Sandown Park hosts racing 24 days of the year but is frequently full of life year-round – hosting comedy nights, charity fundraisers, music concerts, exhibitions and conferences. Unusually, therefore, most of the racecourse’s staff are permanent, and not just hired on seasonal contracts. It is this staff management that helps bolster the superb customer service offering that attracts repeat visitors for all kinds of occasions time and time again.

Primarily attended by Londoners, Sandown Park is considered an easily-accessible ‘country’ day out and offers a variety of dining and hospitality options for customers of all budgets and appetites.

Despite there being other racecourses in the UK with royal connections, Sandown Park Racecourse is well known as being (what was) the Queen Mother’s favourite course and three of her horses – Arkle, Mill Reef and Desert Orchid – frequently raced here under her watchful eye.

Considered a very ‘modern’ racecourse amongst the backdrop of such a historical sport, Sandown Park Racecourse is one of the most accessible and popular in the UK.

Racecourse History

Sandown Park Racecourse opened in 1875 and was the first in the country to charge for attendance – it was half a crown to enter!

It was also the first to have an exclusive member’s enclosure (the Premier enclosure): now considered a standard facility everywhere. Sandown Park is situated in a natural amphitheatre, which made it easy to construct as a purpose-built facility with strict attendance. The stand sits on the top of a hill, allowing the runners, even when down the back straight, to be easily picked out.

The first-ever race meeting at Sandown Park ran across three days and included the Grand National Hunt Chase, which is now held annually as part of the Cheltenham Festival. The Grand International Steeplechase took place during the same event with an impressive prize fund of £2,130 – more than even the winner of the infamous Grand National took home that year!

Once considered the norm, today Sandown Park is one of a few racecourses that still offers both national hunt and flat racing as part of its horseracing season. It has seen some of the best racehorses over both codes compete on its turf.

Main Races and Events

Sandown Park offers a packed calendar of events, so there are several ‘main’ races here. The most notable meetings and races include:

  • The Group 1 Eclipse stakes – their main Group 1 flat race of the season is one of the main races of the entire flat racing calendar, won by super-star horses including Halling, Roaring Lion, Sea The Stars and Enable.
  • Brigadier Gerard Stakes – another top-class flat race, it is a Group 3 race over 10 furlongs, won back in the 90s by the brilliant Henry Cecil trained filly Bosra Sham.
  • Tingle Creek Chase – one of the main jump races of the entire and an early Grade 1 every season, it is a speed test of jumping accuracy over the minimum trip of 2 miles. It has been won in the past by some exceptional horses including Moscow Flyer, Viking Flagship, Altoir – all of them Champion Chase winners at Cheltenham.
  • Celebration Chase – another top-class chase race, won previously by favourites including Altoir and Sire De Grugy.
  • Imperial Cup Day – the Imperial Cup sees grade three horses take on eight hurdles over two miles in a handicap. Normally ran on the Saturday before the start of the Cheltenham Festival.
  • The Bet365 Gold Cup – the main race of Bet365 Jump Finale meeting, sees experienced chasers take on a whopping twenty-four fences over three miles and five furlongs. It is the final big race of the National Hunt season, normally taking place in April.

Other notable races include:

  • Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle
  • Gainsborough Chase
  • Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase
  • Heroes Handicap Hurdle
  • The Coral Summer Festival combines racing with live music and is heavily attended by those with a casual interest in racing, but a serious one in a great day and evening out.

To be honest, whichever meeting over the year you choose to attend at Sandown, the racing is always competitive and a great day out.

Sandown Park Racecourse Map

Sandown Racecourse Map

The jumps track is a far track, with a stiff uphill finish to the line. Jumping is often at a premium, particularly over fences where down the back straight a famous 3 fences – known as railway fences – are jumped in quick succession. It is said if you meet the first on the right stride, the others will come easily. The Pond Fence is jump as the runners spin into the home straight.

Sandown Flat Course
Map Courtesy of At The Races.

The flat track has a similar stiff uphill finish, so horses normally need to be able to see out whatever trip they are racing at. The 5-furlong track is unique and has it’s own course, right down the centre of the track. Although having a steady rise it is a speed track where low numbers fair well.

Sandown Racecourse Address

The full racecourse address is:

Sandown Park Racecourse
Portsmouth Road
Esher
Surry
KT10 9AJ

How To Get To Sandown Racecourse

Part of the attraction of Sandown Park Racecourse is its proximity to London, so it won’t surprise you to find that it’s extremely well connected with transport links as below:

Car – Sandown Park’s car parks can comfortably fit 3,000 vehicles (for free on race days), with four electric car charging points available. For your sat nav enter – Portsmouth Road. kt10 9aj

Rail – Esher rail station is a 10-minute walk from the course, a walk which takes you directly over the track. It can also be reached by shuttle bus during major events, or there’s a taxi rank outside. Don’t be caught out though, Esher rail station is situated in zone six and so is not covered by standard Oyster Cards!

Air – for those attending by air can do so easily into Heathrow or Gatwick, both of which are just twenty miles from the course, and there’s a helipad available for those attending racing on the course itself.

Hotels Near Sandown Racecourse

Because of its location, most attendees to Sandown Park choose to travel back the same day. However, those staying in Esher can choose from a few hotels close by to the racecourse, and they’re almost all independent:

The Mitre Hotel is a luxury option just walking distance from Hampton Court Palace, the Woodlands Park Hotel is based in picturesque surroundings. For something slightly cheaper and lavish, but by no means any less comfortable, the Alexander Pope is recommended. All are within five miles of the course and will arrange taxi transport for you as required. Essentially all hotels in London will be accessible on public transport, however.

We recommend checking these out and booking through the brilliant Booking.com below:
Booking.com

Best Sandown Races Betting Sites

At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps when going to the races. 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, especially for new customers:

  • bet365 Horse Racing
    Bet365 Horse Racing
    GET UP TO £100 IN BET CREDITS

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing
    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Horse Racing
    Coral Horse Racing
    GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    BET £5 GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Horse Racing
    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing
    Unibet Horse Racing Logo
    MONEY BACK AS A BONUS UP TO £40

    New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

Betting Shops Local to Sandown Racecourse

Betting on-course is recommended at the independent course-side bookmakers and they can be found in front of the main Grandstand and next to the rails on race days. Tote facilities and standard betting shops can also be found on-site.

Esher itself isn’t a particularly large town, so you won’t find many betting shops in the local area but there is a branch of Ladbrokes and one of Coral. Unlike many other country-set racecourses, mobile signal here is good; so there’s nothing stopping you hopping online to make a crafty bet if you don’t find odds that fit elsewhere!

Sandown Fixtures

Due to Covid 19 typically fixtures have been amended, we will update as soon as we hear.

Sandown Park Weather

It’s important to keep up the weather when arranging your trip to the races, so you are up to date with ground conditions and also so you can choose the right outfit. Check out the current weather today at Sandown:
SANDOWN WEATHER

Other Events

Sandown Park is Surrey’s premier exhibition and conferencing facility, so there are various specialist shows staged here throughout the year. It is well known as a venue for live music, and in summer 2020 alone can boast bookings with the Pussycat Dolls, Nile Rodgers and Craig David!

Sandown Park Races
Altior and Nico de Boinville winning The bet365 Celebration Chase from Sceau Royal (green)
Sandown 27.4.19
Pic Dan Abraham-focusonracing.com

Summary

Sandown is a great racecourse with high-class racing all year round. Easily accessible from London and with a train station at the course, it is popular with locals and those from further afield. It is a course we love to visit for any meeting, with a great view of the racing action, excellent hospitality and a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Other racecourses

Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:

Popular Questions

🏇What hotels are near Sandown Park Racecourse?

The Mitre Hotel is a luxury option just walking distance from Hampton Court Palace, and the Woodlands Park Hotel is based in picturesque surroundings. For something slightly cheaper and lavish, but by no means any less comfortable, the Alexander Pope is recommended. All are within five miles of the course and will arrange taxi transport for you as required. Essentially all hotels in London will be accessible on public transport, however.

🏇What should I wear to Sandown?

Gentlemen must wear collared shirts. Polo shirts, sportswear and polo-necked jumpers are not allowed. Ladies are asked to dress as if for a smart occasion.

Smart jeans are allowed however they must not be ripped.

🏇How do you get to Sandown races?

Esher rail station is a 10-minute walk from the course, a walk which takes you directly over the track. It can also be reached by shuttle bus during major events, or there’s a taxi rank outside. Don’t be caught out though, Esher rail station is situated in zone six and so is not covered by standard Oyster Cards!

🏇Who owns Sandown racecourse?

Sandown Park is one of fifteen racecourses in the UK owned and operated by the Jockey Club and is a major events venue in the local area.