Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) today confirm that jump racing will return to Royal Windsor Racecourse for the 2024/25 season.
Royal Windsor has a history of hosting jump racing, having done so up until 1998, with the Racecourse temporarily hosting a number of fixtures on behalf of Ascot Racecourse during its redevelopment in 2004 and 2005.
It is anticipated that Royal Windsor will host a small number of National Hunt fixtures across the 2024/5 season, with the first such taking place on Sunday 15 December 2024. On confirmation of the 2025 fixture list, a further number of jumps fixtures will be confirmed for the winter months, ahead the start of the flat season.
Royal Windsor Racecourse will not see any net increase in the number of fixtures that it hosts over the year with these new jump fixtures effectively switched from the afternoon flat meetings that have been traditionally held at the beginning and end of the season in both April and October.
To facilitate the return of jump racing to Royal Windsor, ARC has made significant investment into the racing surface and, in conjunction with the BHA Racecourse Inspectorate and PJA Safety Officers, has developed new areas of track to offer an optimal configuration for jumps racing.
The newly configured jumps course will utilise previously dormant turfed areas of the site, which are in the process of being brought up to racing standard. This work will eliminate the need for a crossover, as was previously utilised for jump racing, and still is used over certain flat distances. Jump races at Royal Windsor will now see runners take a continuous left-handed circuit, instead of the previous figure of eight.
In addition, a number of areas of the track, including the back straight, will be widened to allow adequate space for both hurdle and steeplechase races.
Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division, Mark Spincer, said, “We have long held a desire to bring jump racing back to Royal Windsor Racecourse, and we are really pleased to confirm this plan well ahead of the planned first fixture in December 2024.”
“Whilst the Racecourse hasn’t hosted regularly scheduled jumps fixtures since 1998, we believe that the plans that we have put together with BHA will mean that the small number of fixtures that we would like to host will sit well alongside the long established, popular summer flat programme.”
“A significant amount of work has gone into considering the optimal layout for jump racing at Royal Windsor, which will see the course configured differently to how it was previously, but we believe that it is an excellent proposal to offer jump racing fans the chance to come back to Royal Windsor, whilst not impacting on the flat programme, which is an important consideration.”
“The proximity to the River Thames gives the track excellent drainage, and our records show that the Racecourse very rarely ran jumps fixtures on Heavy ground, with the majority of abandonments coming due to frost. Happily, turf management techniques have developed significantly since that time, so we are confident of providing excellent jumping ground for the fixtures that we would like to host in 2024 and 2025 and beyond.”
In 2023, Royal Windsor Racecourse will host a total of 26 fixtures, taking place from April to October. The Racecourse is best known for its series of popular Monday Night Racing fixtures, which often attract bumper crowds to enjoy a relaxed evening’s racing throughout the summer.