Frankie Dettori, the greatest Flat jockey of the modern era, has a significant part to play in the 30th anniversary of racing on Southwell’s All-Weather track. Racing’s biggest personality rode the first ever Flat winner on the Fibresand surface on 8th November 1989, partnering Crystal Pool for the late Michael Jarvis.
The picturesque Nottinghamshire course celebrates its landmark birthday on 8th and 9th November with a celebration dinner and race meeting under its new highly acclaimed floodlights, which were switched on for the first time this spring.
Celebrations get underway with an Anniversary Dinner on the night of 8th November, hosted by Derek Thompson and Bob Champion (tickets are £40pp) and continue with their Irish Night on the evening of 9th November when several stars of yesteryear will be on parade including 15-times Fibresand winner General Tufto, Alpha Tauri and many more.
The Racecourse has gone from strength to strength since being ravaged by floods in 2007, 2009 and again in 2012, following a programme to create 4km of new flood defences.
Now state-of-the-art lighting and the re-opening of its training centre have put the popular course back in racing’s headlines in its landmark year.
The first ever winner on the Southwell Fibresand actually came over jumps. Zulu, trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by Jonathan Lower, took a novice hurdle on 1st November 1989 but National Hunt action on the All-Weather was short-lived.
Southwell’s all-weather track became synonymous with Flat racing and has been graced by an impressive roll call of equine and human stars ever since.
The winning-most horse is Tempering, who was trained by the late David Chapman to score a staggering 22 times on his beloved Fibresand between 1990 and 1996.
In more recent times the record breaking Stand Guard went on to become the most prolific winner in the history of All-Weather racing with 28 successes after winning six times at Southwell.
Thirsk trainer David Barron is the leading trainer on the Fibresand, having saddled close to 300 winners including Amenable, who became the first horse to make a successful switch from Fibresand to turf by winning the famous Lincoln Handicap in 1991.
Mark Johnston, the winning-most trainer in the history of British racing with over 4,000 victories, has also relied on Southwell’s Fibresand surface over the years with more than 220 of his winners coming at the track.
Johnston’s stable jockey Joe Fanning has a similar total to his name and is the leading jockey at a course that has also been at the forefront of establishing female jockeys.
Alex Greaves, the first to win a British Group race, was dubbed the ‘Queen of the Sand’ during her productive years with Barron in the Nineties, while the sport’s most decorated female rider Hayley Turner, a Southwell girl, began her career at the track with then resident trainer Mark Polglase.
The stables he enjoyed considerable success from have now been extensively refurbished and occupied by Scott Dixon, who has over 30 horses in the trackside barns. His father Paul Dixon remains the most successful owner on Fibresand with over 60 wins to his name.
For more information, or to buy tickets to either the Anniversary Dinner or Irish Night, click the links off the website homepage.