Newmarket Stud and Racecourse Trip
We arrived at Newmarket Stud on a grey Saturday morning but after coffee and biscuits we were soon revived and ready to set off on our guided tour. Newmarket is the home of the United Kingdom horse breeding farm near the racecourse. It accommodates eight stallions and up to 200 brood mares. Anyone can bring a mare along to be served and the fee for this ranges from £3,000 to £5000. Firstly we saw “the Boy’s”, eight of them. Each stallion has his own paddock and there were a couple of famous names we recognised. They were quietly grazing, as their busy covering season was over. It is good to know that when they retire they are allowed to stay at the stud to live out their remaining days. When they die they are buried in a beautifully kept graveyard with their own headstones. Some of the mares were grazing with their foals. They showed great interest when we went up to their paddock, and liked being stroked and patted. Who can resist the appeal of cute little foals nuzzling your hand as they greet you over the fence?. They were gorgeous!! One of the male foals was the offspring of the famous racehorse Fran
He was the first horse in sixty years to be champion at two, three and four years of age. His stud fee is a whopping £125,000. All foals have ear tags as in the racing world parentage is everything.
When you read the racing information before placing a bet, the sire and dam are always mentioned to help punters make an informed decision.
There is a nursery area with thirty stables, where the mares give birth. We were told by our guide that once the mare goes into labour it only takes about thirty minutes for the foal to be born. Vets are on call in case of emergencies. Finally we visited the large barn where the mares are served, and we were told the facts of horsey life. Then it was off to the famous Newmarket race course to try our luck. At the Race Meeting, there were eight races altogether the first was at 1.40pm with the last finishing at about 6pm. There were plenty of places to make a bet. National Tote booths were all over, or you could try your luck with the bookies stalls, where you might get better odds. It was fun watching the horses before each race, parading around the area known as the paddock. They were beautifully turned out. Before some of the races there was even a Best Groomed Horse prize. The jockeys would come out just before each race to meet the owners of their rides in the centre of the paddock. They would then expertly mount and speed off to the starting gates. After each race you could see the winning horse followed by second and third paraded in the Winners Enclosure with their happy owners. The sun shone as we departed for home. We all agreed that it had been an interesting and informative day out and luckily no one lost their shirt.