Newmarket's Racing Surface
Newmarket is unique in having two separate racecourses, though they share some of the same turf for longer distance races.
Newmarket’s two racecourses lie on an area of chalk grassland known as Newmarket Heath, which is officially protected as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest”.
The soil type is very consistent, comprising 20-30cms deep of silt loam or silty clay loam, overlying chalk brash usually 30-40cms below the surface. The soils are extremely well structured throughout, with dense, deep rooting to at least 20cms. This excellent structure is due in part to the benefits associated with extensive earthworm activity found all over both racecourses.
Given the free-draining nature of the underlying chalky brash, there is no requirement for drainage.
The sward on the Rowley Mile course consists primarily of perennial ryegrass with elements of cocksfoot, bentgrass and crested hairgrass. Although the sward on the July Course also consists primarily of perennial ryegrass, it is very different to that on the Rowley Mile. This is due in great part to the fact that it has for many years been extensively irrigated in the summer to accommodate racing in June, July and August.
On the Beacon Course (the track from the 1m 2f Rowley Mile start and beyond), the sward is very different again. There are much larger areas of fine leaved fescue and bentgrass, in keeping with typical heathland characteristics.