There is some debate over whether Sandown Park Racecourse is predominantly a flat racing course or a jump racing one. Perhaps the numbers tell their own story, with five Grade 1 National Hunt races held here and one Group 1 flat race. Regardless, the course, which is based in the town of Esher in Surrey, hosts racing on the afternoons and evenings as well as weekends throughout the year. Having been requisitioned during World War II by the War Department, it is now a course that promises excellent racing throughout the year as well as other events.
Fixtures at Sandown Park Racecourse
There are few months in the year that don’t see some form of racing take place at Sandown Park. The Jump Season Opener takes place at the course each year, with the likes of the Veteran’s Chase Day and Grand Military Gold Cup Day both being of importance in their own way. One of the biggest meetings, though, is the Tingle Creek Festival, which is jump racing meeting that typically takes place in the build-up to Christmas. As the name suggests, the two days of racing culminate in the Tingle Creek Chase, which is a prestigious jump racing event.
The day before that there is a six-race card that includes the Winter Novices’ Hurdle, but it is definitely the Tingle Creek Chase and the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, both Grade One events, that dominate proceedings. It is a meeting that jump racing lovers will not want to miss, such is the extent to which the events are beloved of the horse racing community. Of course, there are other meetings that capture the imagination, such as the Spring Celebration that is often considered to be the start of the flat racing season. You shouldn’t be surprised to see a future winner as the likes of Ascot here.
The Coral Summer Festival is the other major meeting that stands out at Sandown Park, thanks to Ladies Day one day and then the Eclipse Stakes the next. That is two days of top-class racing that is seen by some as being the highlight of the summer. There is no doubt that the Eclipse Stakes is the standout moment, coming in the middle of a card of seven races that threaten to take your breath away. It is one of flat racing’s most anticipated meetings that doesn’t involve one of the Classics, with the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes sitting at the heart of it.
Whilst the horse racing is far too classy and important to be overshadowed by anything else, there is no question that Sandown Park Racecourse is more than just a venue for races. It has hosted major concerts from the likes of Simply Red, Spandau Ballet and Girls Aloud, as well as numerous trade shows and other events. The likes of property shows, wedding fairs and even car shows have all been hosted the venue, which is part of how it makes its money when the racing isn’t take place. That it is served by a direct connection to Waterloo Station certainly doesn’t hurt.