Brighton Racecourse is one of the oldest horse racing venues in the UK, and as a result, it is rich in history. Situated on Whitehawk Hill on the South Downs, it has produced some memorable moments in the sport which have made back and front-page headlines over the years.
Here is a look at some of those magic moments at the Sussex Racecourse.
Brighton Has Produced Several British Classic Winners
The design of Brighton Racecourse makes the venue ideal for horses who are preparing for a shot at one of the British Classics in the sport, including the Derby and St Leger. In the early stages of 2024, we may see some of the latest crop of three-year-olds feature at the course ahead of the Derby where Dewhurst Stakes winner City of Troy is the current 9/4 favourite in the horse race betting for the prestigious Flat contest.
If one of the Derby hopefuls can shine at Brighton in April or May, they are likely to be one of the leading horse racing tips for Epsom, as they will have shown they can handle the downhill gradients and sweeping turns that both racecourses possess.
In 1964, the late Queen Elizabeth II ran her leading colt, Canisbay, in the Derby Trial at Brighton where he shone in front of a huge crowd. Her Majesty’s Hall of Fame horse then went on to win the St Leger at Doncaster.
One of the horses of the year in the UK in 1966 was Sodium. His excellent campaign began with victory in Brighton’s Derby Trial. Just months later he travelled across to Ireland to land the Irish Derby, while he completed a Classic double when he won the St Leger.
Multiple Brighton Challenge Cup winner Park Top is another horse who had a lot of success at the Sussex racecourse. She was also victorious in the Coronation Cup, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, establishing herself as one of the best fillies of her generation.
Norah Wilmot Makes History as First Female Winning Trainer
On this day in 1966, an announcement appeared in the Racing Calendar to say that Mrs Florence Nagle and Miss Norah Eleanor Wilmot had been granted licences under the rules of racing. At last, women were free to train horses with Jockey Club approval. pic.twitter.com/ixTOeGoJHt
History was made at Brighton in 1966 when Norah Wilmot became the first official female winning trainer when her horse, Pat, prevailed at the course. That success arrived just one day after she was handed a licence by the Jockey Club.
Wilmot fought hard for equal rights in the sport, and it was thanks to her campaigning that women were granted licences to train. She went on to have a very good career, with Halcyon Gift and Squander Bug both having a lot of success under her watch.
As well as being a trainer, Wilmot bred thoroughbreds. No Trespass and Pick Me Not, two of her horses, both won prestigious races and showed that she was capable of having success as a breeder too.
There are now a record number of female trainers operating in the UK, including Venetia Williams, Sue Smith and Lucinda Russell, all of whom have won the Grand National at Aintree, and that is largely down to Wilmot.
Hopefully, there will be more memorable moments at Brighton Racecourse when fixtures return to the Sussex course in 2024.
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