[Credit: John Hoy]
An Odds-On Favourite
Group Travel World’s recent fam trip to horseracing’s home town of Newmarket gave group organisers the chance to meet the equine stars and learn more about the history, heritage and culture of the town
“Having met at The National Stud, first up was a drive through Newmarket to Warren Hill gallops to see the day’s second ‘lot’ being ridden out,” says Emma Parkes of Group Travel World, who organised the fam trip, in conjunction with Discover Newmarket.
“The town’s shared with up to 3,000 Thoroughbreds from a number of trainers, including Sheikh Mohammed, and our tour guide from Discover Newmarket, Char Collins, was hugely knowledgeable, explaining how the town has separate walkways for the horses, as well as special horse-friendly road crossings. Horses are out on the gallops from the early hours until lunchtime, and watching a string of two-year-olds run was a fantastic experience.
“As Char explained, Newmarket has two flat race tracks – The July Racecourse and The Rowley Mile – and The Jockey Club is a non-profitable organisation that owns the heath, the National Stud and 13 racecourses.
“Back at the 500-acre National Stud, we met some of the resident mares and foals – as well as some very impressive (and expensive!) stallions – with Char explaining the horses’ bloodlines and welfare. Many stallions spend half the year in the UK before going abroad to cover mares.
“After lunch in the Stud’s group-friendly coffee shop we moved on to the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, which was opened last November by HM The Queen. Situated in Charles II’s former sporting palace and stables, it spans five acres in the heart of Newmarket. Great for groups, there’s on-site parking for coaches, a free lunch for coach drivers with advance bookings, and its Tack Room restaurant serves traditional British fare.
“We also enjoyed a visit to the National Horseracing Museum and the National Art Gallery of British Sporting Art, which was surprisingly fun and interactive (and great for kids). Finally, we dropped in on the Rothschild Yard, where eight former racehorses showcase the work undertaken by the charity Retraining of Racehorses (RoR).”