Officially named Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park is the venue for both flat and National Hunt racing, and its most famous event is the Northumberland Plate, which is held there every year in June. The plate was first brought to Gosforth racecourse in 1882, when the stands and stabling had been renovated to make room for a hundred horses, and the new flat and chase course was revealed. Despite changing fortunes over the decades, the racecourse remains one of Newcastle upon Tyne’s biggest draws – particularly during the racing season – and appointing a new managing director in April 2002 lifted turnover from £2.5million to £6.5million in just six years. The region continues to benefit from the revenue brought in by the racecourse, over £30million from the Northumberland Plate, and countless millions from the famous Ladies Day, which has seen attendance jump to more than 15,000 in the past few years.
Newcastle racecourse is located within the High Gosforth Park estate, which is over eight hundred acres, and just five miles from Newcastle city centre. It boasts more than thirty race meetings, which makes it one of the UK’s most popular turf tracks. The track itself is a Grade 1 dual code racing track, used prolifically during both the flat and jump seasons, it is one mile and six furlongs in circumference and oval in shape. There are six distances over jumps: 1 mile 6 furlongs, 2 miles, 2 miles 4 furlongs, 2 miles 6 furlongs, 3 miles, and 4 miles 1 furlong.
For flat races, there is also a one mile course, but this one has a steady incline to give more of a challenge to the horses who don’t take part in jump races.
Gosforth racecourse also caters for business men and women, the Newcastle Racecourse and Conference Centre is easily accessible from major trunk roads and along bus routes, and the parking is substantial. The centre offers a wide range of room sizes, from four people to four hundred, each with a great view of the course.
Although the racecourse at Gosforth is primarily known for hosting races, there are hundreds of other events host held there every year. Christmas is a huge money-spinner for the venue, there are parties held weekly right up until the end of December, and the Halloween spectacular is always popular, it has live entertainment all evening, fairground rides, and the biggest firework display in the region. Not only that, but it raises money for disabled and disadvantaged children in the North East. Sponsored by the British Heart Foundation, the racecourse also plays host to The Newcastle Stampede, an annual 10k run put together by the Royal Marines. This wet and muddy adventure marathon begins and ends at the racecourse, and includes a two course meal in the corporate suite and a trophy for the fastest team – not something for the faint hearted to be taking part in.