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Newmarket Timeline

1200: Newmarket is born.

The area in which Newmarket now stands was given as a dowry to Sir Richard de Argentein in 1200 when he married Cassandra, daughter of Robert de Insula, Lord of the Manor of Exning.

Sir Richard encouraged development of the town and was almost immediately granted a charter to create a “new market” by the King.

Newmarket Heathland1605: The Discovery of Newmarket Heath.

In February 1605, King James I arrived in Newmarket from Scotland.

He discovered the heath whilst hunting hare with his hounds.

He recognised its potential as a great leisure venue for his court, as the open heathland and spring turf suited his equestrian interests.

1622: The First Race

The first recorded race at Newmarket took place on 18th March 1622.

It was a match race between a horse belonging to Lord Salisbury and a horse belonging to the Marquis of Buckingham. Buckingham’s horse won, securing a prize worth £100, which was an enormous sum at the time.

Palace House1660: Charles II arrives in Newmarket.

Charles II, known as the “Merry Monarch”, began his twice yearly visits to Newmarket to pursue his passion for the turf.

He built Palace House and moved the royal court to Newmarket every year.

Charles was a keen rider and rode at what is now called the July Course on a regular basis.

However, in early spring and late summer the sun was a problem as it kept getting in his eyes. He found a new stretch of turf for these months of the year, which is now the site of the Rowley Mile.

Charles's favourite hack was called Old Rowley, a nickname that was also given to the king himself.

Hence the Rowley Mile Racecourse was born.

Newmarket Scene 16651665: The Town Plate is instituted.

Charles II decreed by an Act of Parliament in 1665 that the Town Plate be run every October.

It was the first ever race to be run under written rules, with the inaugural running taking place in 1666.

Charles II rode his own horse to victory in the race in 1671, receiving a prize flagon worth £32.

It is still run at Newmarket every year and is the world’s oldest surviving horse race.

1665: Newmarket Exported to America.

Richard Nicolls, who was appointed as Governor of New York by Charles II, created the first ever racetrack in America which he called 'Newmarket' after Charles's beloved Suffolk town.

The site of the old Newmarket racecourse is on the Hempstead Plains just outside New York City, just a few miles from one of the great USA tracks of the modern era, Belmont Park

The original home of The Jockey Club, Newmarket High Street1750: The Jockey Club comes to Newmarket.

Horse racing's elite members met at Newmarket to form the Jockey Club to oversee and control English Horseracing.

The Jockey Club wrote a comprehensive set of rules for horseracing and sanctioned racecourses to conduct race meetings under their rules.

The Jockey Club moved to London in the 1960's, but the magnificent Jockey Club Rooms remain in a very prominent position on Newmarket's High Street.

1762 - 1771: The start of Newmarket's Racing Fixtures

The second half of the 18th century saw Newmarket flourish with the establishment of fixed annual race meetings.

During these years, the Spring and Autumn meetings were constantly augmented by new fixtures, all of which still survive today.

1809: The 2,000 Guineas inaugurated

The first classic of the British season remains one of the highlights of Newmarket's season when it takes place on the Rowley Mile each spring.

1814: The 1,000 Guineas inaugurated

The second classic in the British season was inaugurated just five years after the 2000 Guineas.

Today it is the highlight of the Sunday of the Guineas Festival on the Rowley Mile

1839: The Cambridgeshire and The Cesarewitch inaugurated

These two great handicaps make up the “Autumn Double”, the former now run in late September and the latter in October.

1877: The Champion Stakes inaugurated

The Emirates Airline Champion Stakes is the spectacular highlight of Champions’ Day, overall the highest class race day in Britain with no less than six Group Races, which, until 2010, used to take place at the Rowley Mile in October.

1914 - 1918 & 1939 -1945: Newmarket is the only British Racecourse to stage racing during the two World Wars

Wartime Racecard

Soon after the start of both World Wars, all British racecourses were closed except Newmarket’s July Course where all Britain’s classics were run during this time.

The Rowley Mile course was used as an RAF base.

1929: The Introduction of the Tote

Newmarket’s July Course was the first to introduce the Tote, where it was regarded with some bafflement and caused considerable panic amongst the bookmakers!

The first ever Tote dividend was a pretty handsome sum of 80 shillings sixpence to a two shilling stake.

1949: The Introduction of the Photo Finish

The 2,000 Guineas of 1949 was the first ever race to have a photo finish camera to help determine the winner

Newmarket Starting Stalls1965: The Introduction of Starting Stalls

Newmarket's July Course was the first course to use starting stalls.

One of the most exciting parts of a race is when the horses burst out of the starting stalls.

2000: The Millennium Grandstand Opens

On Fri, 6th May 2000, the new Millennium Grandstand at Newmarket's Rowley Mile was opened by The Queen.

The Grandstand boasts state-of-the-art facilities for racegoers on racedays as well as superb facilities for a wide range of corporate events.

2007: July Course redevelopment - first phase

The £10m redevelopment of the area behind the stands on the July Course was unveiled, providing excellent new facilities and more space for racegoers in the Premier and Grandstand & Paddock Enclosures.

May 2008: The 200th running of The 2000 Guineas

Newmarket celebrated the 200th running of the 2000 Guineas, the first classic of the British season which takes place on the Rowley Mile each spring.

Westlife performed in 20102011: 25th Anniversary of Newmarket Nights

Newmarket Nights is one of the region's most popular nights out.

In 2011, Newmarket celebrates 25 years of evening racing accompanied by music.

Acts to grace the purpose built July Course stage in the last few years include Bryan Adams, Westlife, Madness, Girls Aloud, Boyzone and Simply Red