The town of Newmarket has been of pivotal international importance throughout the racing world for nearly 350 years and, with its remarkable concentration of racehorses, training facilities, stud farms, associated industries and two distinct racecourses, it continues to be so today.
Newmarket’s international influence was first evidenced way back in 1665 when, at the same time as Charles II was instituting the first race under written rules ever to be run in Britain, and probably the world, at his beloved Suffolk town of Newmarket, so he was exporting horseracing and the name of Newmarket to America.
Charles instructed the British Governor of New York, Richard Nicolls from Ampthill in Bedfordshire, to found a racecourse called Newmarket. It was constructed on what is now known as the Hempstead Plains on Long Island, New York, and thus racing in America was born.
It is not known for sure when racing at Newmarket ceased, but a plaque can be found in Garden City, Long Island, marking the site of the old track, which is just a few miles from the thriving racecourse of Belmont Park.
Newmarket’s name was also exported to South Africa, where there is a track called Newmarket at Alberton, near Johannesburg.
Renowned as the Home of Horseracing throughout the racing world, Newmarket continues to have a high international profile. Tattersalls Sales, the largest bloodstock sales in Europe, bring purchasers from across the globe to Newmarket; the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory and Animal Health Trust enjoy worldwide renown; and the world’s biggest owner and breeder, Sheikh Mohammed, has the headquarters of his international breeding operation, Darley, and his training operation, Godolphin, in Newmarket.
Newmarket’s races themselves attract many international runners, most notably Europe’s premier sprint race, the Darley July Cup, which has been contested by runners from the Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, France and Ireland in the 21st century. Indeed Agnes World became the first Japanese-trained horse to win a Group 1 race in Britain when taking the 2000 running of this great race.
The picture is taken from a collection a New York Public Library Picture Collection.