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An Overview of the Newmarket July Festival

An Introduction to the Newmarket July Festival

Newmarket is the ancestral home of British horseracing. The famous racecourse was originally founded by James I, with the first recorded races being held in 1667. Legend has it that King James I discovered the land, decided that it was suitable for horses to gallop on, and organised the first racing events. His grandson, Charles II, also known as the "Merry Monarch", was even more of a horseracing fan than his grandfather, and he developed the Newmarket Royal Plate. This event, with the prize pool and the spectacle, popularised the sport. Charles II even won a race at Newmarket, becoming the only reigning monarch to ever do so.

The Newmarket July Festival, also known as the Möet and Chandon July Festival, is held over 3 days, in early July. Each day features several races of different grades, run over different distances and some have conditions for age and sex of the horses. This gives racegoers and those who want to watch the event from home the chance to enjoy a variety of horse races.

Horseracing fans who want to go to Newmarket to watch the July festival can choose which day they want to visit on, and may pick a day depending on what races are run. There are three different enclosures to view the races from, the Premier Enclosure, the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure and the Garden Enclosure.

Visitors who want to treat themselves to the best seats and facilities can book tickets at the Premier Enclosure. Here, there are a number of bars such as the Möet & Chandon champagne bar and the bistro on the Rowley Mile that come highly recommended. Visitors can view the races right at the heart of the action, by the Winning Post, where they can watch the horses cross the finish line.

The Grandstand and Paddock is an enclosure that also has food stands and bars, and guests can enjoy views of the races from the elevated seating in the Grandstand. They also have access to the Parade Ring, Pre Parade Ring and the Winner's Enclosure too.

The Garden Enclosure is a perfect option for families who may want to travel to the Newmarket July Festival and bring a picnic. There are children's play areas and some food stalls and facilities for guests to find some refreshments. The Garden Enclosure has limited views to the races, as it is positioned between the two and one furlong poles, though visitors can see all of the action on huge TV screens.

The Premier Enclosure has a dress code, although it is not too restricting. Visitors here are encouraged to dress smart casual, which means that they do not necessarily need suits, but formal shirts, shoes and trousers are required. Ladies are encouraged to wear fascinators and hats, although this is also not compulsory.

For the Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosures, the dress code is far more casual. Here jeans, t-shirts and trainers are accepted.

Fancy dress is also permitted in the Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosures, although these need to be in good taste. Any fancy dress that is deemed inappropriate or offensive can mean certain guests may be asked to leave without a refund.

Guests who want to put an effort into putting together exceptionally elegant dresses or outfits may have a chance to win the Style Awards. This is a small competition where there are judges who try to determine which of the guests has dressed up in the most stylish manner, and the guests can potentially win prizes if they catch the judges' eyes.

History of the Newmarket July Festival

Though the town of Newmarket can trace its horseracing activities back to the 17th century, the races were only officiated from the start of the 19th century. There were still races held before this time, but there were no jockey clubs to keep specific records or create any rules for the races.

With the creation of the Jockey Clubs, the first races could be established officially. Newmarket always had seasonal races and therefore it had two separate courses. The Rowley Mile Course, named after King Charles II's favourite horse Old Rowley, and the July Course. The Rowley Mile Course is used for racing in spring and autumn and hosts most of the Group 1 races at Newmarket, such as the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas Stakes. The July Course, also called the Summer Course, is where the Newmarket July Festival holds its races. This course is used during the summer and features a 1 mile straight called the "Bunbury Mile''.

There is also a third course, named the Round Course, though this is only used once a year for the Newmarket Town Plate, a historical race that is a part of horse racing heritage, though it is not a highly significant event in modern horse racing.

Races at the Newmarket July Festival

The first day of the July Festival is also referred to as Ladies Day. The racing schedule begins at 1:20pm with the first race, the EBF Maiden Fillies' Stake, followed by the Bahrain Trophy at 1:50pm, the July Stakes at 2:25pm, the best365 Handicap Stakes (Heritage Handicap) at 3:00pm, the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at 4:10pm and the John Deere Handicap Stakes at 4:45pm.

The second day features 7 races, starting off with the British EBF Maiden Stakes at 1:15pm. This is followed by the bet365 Handicap Stakes at 1:50pm, the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at 2:25pm, the bet365 Trophy at 3:00pm, the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at 3:35pm, the Cash Out At bet365 Handicap Stakes and finally the Möet & Chandon Handicap Stakes at 4:45pm. This racing schedule is usually made so that the second day falls on a Friday, which is called the Festival Friday.

The third and last day of the July Festival in Newmarket begins at 1:30pm with the Rossdales British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes. This is followed by the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies' Handicap Stakes at 2:05pm, The bet365 Mile Handicap at 2:40pm, The bet365 Superlative Stakes at 3:15pm, The bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap) at 3:50pm, the Darley July Cup at 4:25pm and finally the Handicap Stakes at 5:00pm.

If horse racing fans or those who may be curious are planning a visit, it may be useful to consider which races may be more appealing to watch. Though this being said, each day in the Newmarket July Festival has its fair share of variety. Each day has higher graded events as well as a fair share of short sprints, over one mile long races and races that are exclusive to male or female horses.

How to Bet On the Newmarket July Festival Races

There are not many sports that have the same levels of intensity as horse racing. The races may be over in just over or under 2 minutes, depending on the length of the track, but they are highly exciting to watch.

What can make the races even more exhilarating is placing wagers on which horse will win the race. This gives fans the incentive to watch the race and specifically cheer on one of the horses. Horse race betting goes back a long way, and can trace its origins back to very first horse races.

When it comes to betting on horse races, there are many different types of punters who use contrasting strategies.

Punters who want to place a bet with a good chance of winning may do some quick research, checking out data such as which jockeys have had the most success in a particular race, which trainers have won it, or check out information about the horse such as what its favourite track type is and what distances it usually runs. There is only a limited amount of information that can be useful, but it can certainly give more tactical punters the edge.

Some punters may use that tactic, but will have a good knowledge of the horses competing already. There are many horse racing fans that follow specific horses and may have some keen insight that may be helpful in predicting which horse will have a strong chance of winning the next race.

There are also casual punters who do not necessarily want to put in any extra effort but would rather place their money on a horse that has a witty name or is wearing lucky colours or any other small detail that may catch the punter’s eye.

The odds for horse racing bets are usually longer than other sports, meaning that even a bet on a horse that is tipped to win can still bring sizable winnings, making it highly appealing to bettors who want to place a wager.

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