Horse racing at Brighton Racecourse has been part of Brighton life since the 1700’s. The Duke of Cumberland organised the first public race meeting in 1783 and members of the armed forces were some of the first jockeys. This regular public meeting was held around the time of the Whitehawk Fair that ceased in 1820.
The course was almost ploughed up in 1805 when the farmer who leased the course did not receive his yearly compensation of wine. He was chased away by a press gang and the races continued. It is rumoured that George IV invented hurdle racing at the course and there has also been some tragic events at the course such as the 1796 grandstand fire. There was a change to the popularity of the course in 1850 after Londoners began travelling by railway to Brighton.
Crowds also swelled after WWII but started to declined and the facilities become run down until 1998 when the course was refurbished.
The Brighton Racecourse is located in the centre of Brighton near Whitehawk Hill near the South Downs. The track is in close proximity to the coast and is four hundred feet above sea level. The full track is one and a half miles and is shaped like a horseshoe.
The course is not a complete circuit like Epsom and Newmarket. The straight is four furlongs in length. It has a steep descent and then a less steep incline to the winning post. The course is left handed and is for flat racing. The longest race is 1 1/2 miles.
There are 20 fixtures a year including the three day Brighton Festival held in early August. The festival includes the Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy Handicap and Ladies Day. Sprinters with low numbers are at an advantage except when the ground is soft as riders are more likely to move towards the stand rail.