Southwell is a dual race-type course located close to the market town of Newark, Nottinghamshire County in East Midlands, England. It is owned by the Arena Racing Company and televised on At The Races.
The course has been operation since the mid-19th Century, when the first recorded jump races were run. Flat races were introduced several years later. The flat competitions were however not very popular, since the soil surface was deemed unstable and difficult. The first grandstand was opened in 1886, raising complains among race participants who felt the course should have received first attention.
Eleven years later, with a dwindling number of participants, the course management agreed to put up a new track in an ambitious plan that stretched until 1965. The project involved laying a mixture of sand and fibre to make the course more stable.
Further improvements were made after this phase and in 1989, the track was declared to be all-weather and the first National Hunt on all-weather track was run.
Flooding forced the track to close temporarily in 2012 to allow for repair of damaged buildings and tracks. When it re-opened in 2013, attendance was limited as repairs in some areas were still ongoing.
The circuit is an almost perfect oval, with an extending arm at one end where races start. It slants downhill on the first straight of the oval, then back uphill on the opposite side. The run in and finish is on a straight downhill, allowing racehorses to finish in full gallop.
Dress code is strict in some areas, where you may not access in shorts or trainers. Access by road is through the A1 from Rolleston. It is also well signposted in theA617 from the southern side. Rolleston train station is close to the course. £40 motel accommodation is also available, though high demand may require an early booking.
The course is busy throughout the year, with a staggering 74 fixtures on its calendar. It has been a fertile racing ground for 23-time Royal Ascot winner Frank Dettori, and Hayley Turner, a female jockey.