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!
- 1 Overview
- 2 Racecourse History
- 3 Main Races and Events
- 4 Sandown Park Racecourse Map
- 5 Sandown Racecourse Address
- 6 How To Get To Sandown Racecourse
- 7 Hotels Near Sandown Racecourse
- 8 Best Sandown Races Betting Sites
- 9 Betting Shops Local to Sandown Racecourse
- 10 Sandown Fixtures
- 11 Sandown Park Weather
- 12 Other Events
- 13 Summary
- 14 Other racecourses
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.
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
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.
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
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:
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:
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!
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 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 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.
Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:
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- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
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