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Mar 11, 2016

150 years of racing excellence at Newton Abbot Racecourse

On the 10 August we celebrated our 150th anniversary with a fantastic afternoon of racing action. We gave away a free goodie bag to the first 200 adults through the gates and there was a gift for the first 200 children through the gates too. Along with all the excitement of the racing, there was free face painting for children and our new children’s’ play area was open too.

There has been a racecourse on the current site since 1866 when the first recorded racing took place at Newton Abbot Racecourse over the 9/10 August 1866. In the days before television and the internet, the racecourse was the biggest local attraction for miles around and often experienced crowds of up to 17,000 people, all eager to share in the excitement and pageantry of a day at the races.

The racecourse has enjoyed many unique occasions over its 150th year history including the opening of the main grandstand by The Queen Mother in 1969 and on 21 May 1981, Prince Charles rode his last race at Newton Abbot on The Queen Mother’s horse Upton Grey, finishing ninth. Much to the delight of spectators, many of British horseracing’s most renowned jockeys have ridden the 1 mile, 1 furlong course at Newton Abbot. The role of honour includes 20 time champion jockey Sir AP McCoy, Richard Johnson, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore and his son Tom. Read more in our 150th anniversary book here.

If you have any interesting stories or pictures regarding the racecourse over the years, we’d love to receive them for use on the website and other anniversary related materials. Please email them to

We hope you were able to join us this special year at one or more of our 18 great race fixtures throughout March to October, or perhaps at one of our many fantastic events: car boot sales, antiques fairs or our major summer concert on Sunday 14 August, 80’s Gold, which featured the star studded line-up of Tony Hadley, ABC, Bananarama and Midge Ure.

Here’s to the next 150 years!