Newmarket is still regarded as the ‘HQ’ of British horseracing. Jamie Ndah went along to find out more about one of the greatest equestrian centres in the world.
Newmarket is a small market town in Suffolk, approximately one hour and thirty minutes by car from the hustle and bustle of London. It is also considered the birthplace and global centre of horseracing, and the location of the historic Newmarket Racecourse.
The town is home to 20,000 people and 5,500 racehorses, of which 375,000 visitors have enjoyed the splendour and wonder that this horseracing capital has to offer. Such is the importance of horseracing in Newmarket, that 1 in 3 people are employed in the world of racing.
As I drew closer and closer to my destination, it was evident from the numerous equine statues, signs and plaques on display that this is very much a horses’ hamlet. I was very excited to discover and gain more of an insight into the thrilling world of the ‘sport of kings’, and my first port of call via my whistle-stop tour of Newmarket was The Jockey Club Rooms which is located halfway down a buzzing Newmarket high street in the town centre.
The iron gated, handsome looking property is calm and tranquil, and after receiving a warm welcome on arrival, I took a leisurely stroll around the grounds of which my breath was instantly taken away by the sheer beauty on display from the gorgeous interiors and furnishings right through to the well-honed external premises.
This world-famous private members club is steeped in so much history dating back to the middle of the 18th century when it was founded. A regal and enchanting outpost, blessed with divine lounge rooms, there are flawlessly manicured lawns, stunning paintings, and original photographs of some of the finest British horseracing artwork collection on show.
The Jockey Club Rooms has been a firm favourite throughout the years with royalty, dignitaries, VIPs and the racing elite, and has continued that tradition right through to present day.
After a relaxing cup of tea at The Jockey Club Rooms, I took a short walk to Palace House and then proceeded on an excellent tour which consisted of experiencing the new National Horseracing Museum, the National Art Gallery of British Sporting Art and I also got the opportunity to get up close and personal with former racehorse legend ‘Our Vic’ who was an absolute delight at the flagship yard of Retraining of Racehorses.