Top Horse Racing Meetings Around Kent in the Second Half of 2023

As a county with such a rich sporting heritage, it’s sad to think that Kent no longer has an official racecourse. Following the closure of Folkestone in 2012, horse racing enthusiasts now have to make the trip across the border to witness their favourite sport firsthand.

The good news is that there are many top facilities in neighbouring counties, and here are some of the most important meetings in Sussex, Surrey and Essex between now and the end of the year.

Surrey Highlight

Sandown Park Racecourse” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by ♔ Georgie R

One of the biggest races in the south of England is the Tingle Creek Chase. Held as part of a two-day meeting in December, the event is hosted by the Sandown Park racecourse in Esher. This is one of the few meetings where runners are declared many months in advance of the off, and the field is already filling up for 2023.

The big-name owners will be targeting Tingle Creek, but they have more competition in the present day. The growth in racing syndicates has made racehorse ownership more accessible, allowing for greater competition than ever before. Owners will find busy cards across the two days but the most important renewal is the Tingle Creek Chase itself. First held in 1969, this is a National Hunt race, and it’s run across one mile, seven furlongs and 119 yards of the Sandown Park course.

In 2023, the Tingle Creek Festival will take place on the 8th and 9th of December.

Brighton by the Sea

With its bustling coastal resort, Brighton has many other distractions, while its racecourse is among the best in the south. 2023’s fixture calendar shows a number of events that are planned to coincide with the best of the summer weather.

In August, Brighton’s Festival of Racing is held over three days from Wednesday the 9th to Friday the 11th. The Brighton Mile Challenge is the highlight of day one, while Thursday is Ladies’ Day. The Festival closes out with a packed Friday card as the meeting builds to its finale.

Across the Bridge to Chelmsford

Great Leighs Race course 2” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Andreas-photography

In other sports, most notably cricket, Kent and Essex have a healthy rivalry. Kent residents would be churlish to miss out on a day’s horse racing in their neighbouring county, as Chelmsford is a renowned venue with some entertaining events in prospect.

Chelmsford racecourse is known for its evening meetings, and, each week through August and September, there is a night of racing in prospect.

Chelmsford also hosts floodlit meetings in the autumn and winter months, so this is a top-class year-round course.

This round-up provides an option for each of Kent’s three neighbouring counties, but there are more. Other major racecourses nearby include Lingfield, Plumpton and Epsom to name just three. While racing at Epsom focuses on the Derby in June, the calendar continues through to the season finale on Sunday, October 1st.

At some point, it’s hoped that Kent will regain a major horse racing facility, but for now, a short hop across the border can still be met with some top-class meetings.

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