Salisbury Racecourse has a rich history - and a record-breaking season ahead
Racing is believed to have taken place on ‘the race plain’ from as early as the sixteenth century and Salisbury's Racecourse's ‘City Bowl’, dating back to 1654, is thought to be Britain's oldest named race - it is currently sponsored by Betfred.
Over the years Salisbury has witnessed some legends of the sport including Gimcrack and Eclipse who both won the City Bowl - in 1768 and 1769 respectively.
More recently, Salisbury has seen horses such as Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef & Sir Percy win at the track amongst a host of other Classic and Group 1 performers.
On 7 April 1948, Salisbury racecourse was the venue for the legendary Lester Piggott’s first ever ride under rules. He was a 12 year-old apprentice and rode a 3-year-old filly called The Chase for his father. Although unsuccessful on his first visit to Salisbury, Piggott would go on to end his career with a total of 65 winners at the course.
In 1979 there was another debut appearance at Salisbury: the great American jockey, Steve Cauthen rode his first race in Britain. He won the race aboard Marquee Universal.
Many high class winners have been added to Salisbury’s rich tapestry in recent seasons: 2015 saw Simple Verse land the Bibury Cup before winning the St Leger and the Fillies & Mares on Champions Day.
In the same season John Gosden’s Journey was an emphatic winner of the Upavon Fillies’ Stakes. She earned Group 1 honours the following season also in the Fillies & Mares on Champions Day, and Galileo Gold broke his maiden at the course before landing the 2000 Guineas in 2016.
The 2018 Salisbury Flat season - which starts on Sunday, April 29 - is set to be the Racecourse's biggest yet with a record £1.25million on offer in prize money across the 16 fixtures between April and October with the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes retaining its place as the jewel in the Salisbury crown. This one mile contest has regularly been a competitive affair, none more so than last season’s renewal which saw Sir Michael Stoute’s Ballet Concerto get the verdict in the tightest possible three horse finish.
Besides the Sovereign Stakes (16 August), Salisbury hosts four other Group/Listed races:
- The Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies (6 September),
- The Cathedral Stakes (17 June),
- The Upavon Fillies (15 August),
- The Stonehenge Stakes (24 August)
- all of which are Listed contests and add real depth to the quality racing on offer at Salisbury.
In addition, Salisbury Racecourse is hosting four music feature nights in 2018: Saturday, 26 May sees Spire FM “Back On The Track” – with 80s & 90s hits. Saturday, 14 July is Ladies’ Evening with Lee Pashley as Robbie Williams. And on Friday, 24 August the entertainment will be provided byBen: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute.
Attendance at all concerts is included in the entry fee and they take place after racing.
Children under the age of 18 can enjoy racing for free at Salisbury in 2018 at all 16 fixtures, however there are three family race days where extra events, including free entertainments, are provided for them: Sunday, 29 April - Wednesday & Thursday, 15 & 16 of August -and their Father’s Day family race day on Sunday 17 June.
Raceday ticket prices start from £8 and if you buy a badge for Sunday, 29 April you can buy a badge for Monday, 30 April at half price.