5 Great Horse Racing Pubs

Features | 26th May 2022

There’s no better way to celebrate a winner than with a drink or two down the pub.

Some watering holes have become famous for hosting parties for nearby trainers after big‐race victories, while others have been fortifying racing fans before some of the biggest meetings. Here’s five pubs with strong links to racing.

The Dante Arms, Middleham

The market town of Middleham is the horseracing centre of the north. Tucked away on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, it is home to some of the country’s most prominent trainers, including record‐breaking Mark and Charlie Johnston. 

In the Market Place is the Dante Arms. Behind the pub is where the last northern‐trained Derby winner, Dante, was stabled. Anyone staying in one of the rooms these days can watch the current horses trained in the town making their way up to the famous gallops. Early risers can even stroll up to the moor to watch the horses exercise.

The Plough Inn, Ford

There can be few pubs closer to the training of some of the country’s best jumpers than the Plough. It sits at the foot of the gallops on Jonjo O‘Neill’s state‐of‐the‐art Cotswolds training complex, Jackdaw’s Castle. 

The traditional country pub ‐ serving the local Donnington ale brewed just a Grand National‐distance away near Stow‐on‐the‐Wold ‐ has seen plenty of celebrations after big‐race wins. 

It’s a regular haunt of racing people and is a popular stop‐off point for many racegoers heading for Cheltenham races from the east. Its breakfast baps have set up many a fan for a day at the Festival. Later on, the bar is alive with racing talk after the action has finished for the day.

White Horse, Chester

Lots of pubs benefit from being located near a racecourse allowing them to tempt thirsty racegoers into their establishments. The White Horse is a little different ‐ it’s actually on Chester Racecourse.

The gastro pub – complete with cosy log fires – is set next to the parade ring in the centre of the world’s oldest racecourse. It is, obviously, extremely busy on race days but it is also popular throughout the week when its charcoal grill and stone pizza oven help pull in the diners.

The Queen’s Arms, East Garston

Lambourn is known as the ‘valley of the racehorse’. Some of the sport’s most powerful trainers, including Nicky Henderson, Clive Cox and Charlie Hills, are based in and around the Berkshire village.

There are numerous watering holes in the area but none more popular with racing people than The Queen’s Arms in nearby East Garston.

Local trainers, owners and jockeys can often be seen dropping in for a bite to eat or a drink at the award‐winning country pub. It’s also a popular stop‐off venue for racing fans returning from a day out at Newbury, being little more than a dozen miles from the Grade 1 track.

The King’s Arms, Prestbury

Anyone retiring to the King’s Arms in Prestbury after a day at the home of National Hunt racing, probably won’t realise they are where one of the legendary careers in Flat racing began.

It was in what is now the pub car park, little more than a few furlongs from Cheltenham racecourse, where the great Fred Archer had his first riding lesson. Under the firm hand of his father, Grand National‐winning rider Billy Archer, the young Fred first got the leg up on a Galloway pony called Chard, won as a prize in a raffle. Archer would go on to become one of racing’s greatest – and yet most tragic names.

The winner of 13 jockeys’ championships, and five Derbys, Archer was just 29 when, suffering from depression and typhoid fever, he shot himself at his palatial Newmarket home. A plaque on the wall of the pub remembers its illustrious former resident.