My Local Racecourse - Newton Abbot

Features | 27th June 2022

Newton Abbot is loved by tourists and regulars alike.

The popular track lies on the banks of the River Teign just to the north of the Devon market town a
few miles from the English Riveria.

Summer Holidays

The tourist hotspots of Dawlish, Teignmouth and Torquay are little more than a staying chase distance from the summer jumps track. 

There can’t be many courses that can match Newton Abbot’s ice cream sales as holiday makers flock to the friendly independent course. The relaxed atmosphere fits in perfectly with its location and there is no better place to be when the summer sun has its hat on in deepest Devon. 

Being the most southern racecourse in the UK helps in that regard and the climate was one of the driving forces to switch the course to summer racing from its more traditional jumps season fixture list. The decision came after its lucrative Boxing Day had been abandoned for six successive years and the move has been a great success. It has seen Newton Abbot become one of the premier summer jumps tracks and it often attracts the top jockeys and trainers to the course.

The track now holds meetings from March through to October with its Easter Saturday card proving especially popular. 

Many visitors choose to travel by train as the course is just a 15‐minute stroll from the station. The journey from Exeter along the coastal line is among one of the most beautiful stretches of railway in the country.

A Rich History

The course itself is a flat left‐handed circuit. It’s quite tight and suits nimble, pacy horses as the turns are quite sharp. 

Its demands suited Martin Pipe’s horses when he dominated jumps racing in the 1980s and ‘90s. The trainer, who revolutionised National Hunt racing, was a regular visitor to the Newton Abbot winners’ enclosure with his stable jockey Peter Scudamore often making the running. 

In 2016 the racecourse celebrated its 150th anniversary. Racing has continued ever since the first meeting in 1866. 

Only the outbreak of the two World Wars has stopped racing at the track. During the First World War the site was used as a prisoner of war camp. A huge crowd of around 17,500 people celebrated the end of the Second World War at the racecourse on August Bank Holiday in 1945. 

Newton Abbot also has connections with the Royal Family. The Queen Mother officially opened the main grandstand in 1969 and Prince Charles had his last ride in a race at the track when partnering his grandmother’s horse, Upton Grey, to finish ninth in the spring of 1981.

Everyone’s Turf

Its popularity among all walks of life has lead the course to receive several awards. 

It has received the Racehorse Owners Association’s Gold Award on numerous occasions and it has also made the shortlist for Best UK Racecourse. 

Horseracing is not the only sport to have been held at the course. A greyhound track also operated at the site from 1974 until it was closed in 2005. 

Nowadays it offers racing fans the perfect summer holiday entertainment as thousands of visitors each year can attest to.

Check out Newton Abbot’s and other racetrack’s fixtures here at our #EveryonesTurf campaign hub