Owned by the Jockey Club, Sandown Park racecourse was opened in 1875 with admission on the turnstiles being 2/6p (12.5 pence).

Most racetracks in England evolved over many years but not Sandown Park. It was purpose built to provide entertainment and was the first racecourse that charged racegoers for access to the site.

Sandown Park History

Located in Esher, Surrey, Sandown Park is one of three racecourses based in the capital. Despite being rather close to an urban sprawl, Sandown is situated in some beautiful parkland that adds to the ambience of the venue.

Sandown Park hosts both flat and jump racing throughout the year, attracting many top horses to the track.

To say that it was the first purpose built racecourse in Britain it is quite a charming place overall.

Sandown Course Configuration

Sandown has a right handed oval flat course that stretches for approximately 13 furlongs all the way around.

A small straight track however is used for the five furlong sprint races and its one that rises steadily throughout. The sprint course definitely has a draw bias with the advantage going to those that race on the far side rail.

On the round course, the uphill run in is very significant and often determines the outcome of the finishes.

The jumps course is also an oval but the turns are tighter. The long straights make for a great gallop and the track is regarded as one of the besting jumping tests in the land.

Seven fences that have to be jumped in fairly quick succession fill the back straight, including the famous “Railway fences”.

When conditions are good, speed merchants who like to lead from the front and are generally in their element when all the emphasis is on speed.

Biggest Races At Sandown Park

There are three distinct highlights on the Sandown racing calendar every season: the Bet365 Gold Cup in April, the Eclipse Stakes in July and the Tingle Creek Chase in December.

The Bet365 Gold Cup, still referred to and remembered by many as the Whitbread Gold Cup, is the feature race on the last Saturday in April when the National Hunt season comes to a close
Sandown’s sole Group 1 race on the flat is the Eclipse Stakes, which is run over a mile and a quarter in early July and attracts some of the best horses around.

It’s roll-of-honour since 2000 includes familiar names such as Giant’s Causeway, Sea The Stars, Nathaniel and Golden Horn. Many of those horses featured in the Royal Ascot betting the previous month.

The Tingle Creek Chase over the jumps is a magnet for all the top two-mile chasers. The Grade 1 contest, held in early December, has Desert Orchid and Kauto Star among its alumni alongside Viking Flagship, Flagship Uberalles, Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.

The Tingle Creek is the natural stepping stone each season to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the result always affects the horse racing odds for the contest.

Getting To Sandown Park Racecourse

The racecourse is located in picturesque parkland in the town of Esher, Surrey.

It is within the M25 and only 25 minutes by train from London Waterloo or 15 miles from South West London.

*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.