My Local Racecourse – Newcastle

Features | 22nd November 2022

Newcastle stages its biggest jumps race of the season this Saturday when Champion Hurdle hopefuls will battle it out for the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

Newcastle’s top Jumps prize – named in honour of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers regiment – is one of a number of sparkling jewels in the fixture list of one of Britain’s busiest racecourses.

A total of nine Champion Hurdlers have won this two-mile contest. Some of the greats of National Hunt racing have lifted the trophy, including Night Nurse, Sea Pigeon, Kribensis and Buveur D’Air.

This weekend, Epatante is likely to attempt to match the three Fighting Fifths won by both Comedy Of Errors and Birds Nest in the 1970s.

The speed and style of the top two-mile hurdlers couldn’t be more of a contrast to Newcastle Racecourse’s other big jumping prize. The Eider Chase – run over more than four miles in late February – is one of the most severe tests of stamina in jump racing.

It often serves as a stepping stone to the Grand National. Comply Or Die, in 2008, was the last horse to win both races. Last year, Win My Wings landed the Eider Chase before going on to glory in the Scottish Grand National.


The racecourse’s jumps fixtures compliment its extensive Flat programme. Newcastle became British racing’s newest all-weather course in 2016. It has been a hit with trainers of all levels.

John Gosden sent Enable to the course for her debut before going on to win 11 Group 1 races and over £10 million. 

The track also became the first all-weather course to hold a Group 1 race in Britain when it stepped in to stage the Vertem Futurity Trophy in 2019 when it was rerouted from waterlogged Doncaster.

Their all-weather course also hosts one of the most popular events in the North East social calendar. Tens of thousands of people pack into the course for Northumberland Plate day every June.

The big race – often referred to as the Pitmen’s Derby – was won this year by top-class stayer Trueshan. The two-mile handicap was first held in 1833, nearly 50 years before the current racecourse opened.

Kameko and Oisin Muprhy win the Vertem 2019 Futurity Trophy


Racing in the area dates back much further. There are records of races held in the early 1600s when they were staged at Killingworth, just a couple of miles from the current racecourse.

The racecourse at its present location situated in the 812-acre High Gosforth Park estate opened in 1882.

It now hosts more than 60 race meetings and it is able to hold evening meetings all-year roundIt means Newcastle Racecourse really is a track for all seasons. Whether it is jumps or Flat it is loved by the Geordie regulars in equal measure.