Southwell is in Rolleston near Newark in Nottinghamshire. It stages both flat and National Hunt racing on turf but most of its meetings are flat on the fibresand all-weather surface. Rolleston Railway Station is adjacent to the racecourse with direct connections from Nottingham and Newark.
Southwell is the only track in the UK that has the fibresand surface. It has been likened to the dirt tracks of America because it is deeper and generates more kick-back than the other UK all-weather tracks. It is a left handed oval track of a mile and a quarter with a three furlong run-in. There is a chute that provides a straight five furlong sprint course.
One of the best horse racing tips for Southwell today is to consider the nature of the track. The severe kick-back means that it is difficult for horses to come from behind. Southwell is a real stamina test and is really a course for specialists. This means that runners tend to fan out in the home straight. The inside berth turning for home can ride even heavier so there is also a tendency to drift off the rail.
The turf track is a sharp, left handed track which varies with the underfoot conditions. Speed horses dominate on fast ground but it becomes a real test of endurance when the going rides soft. Southwell tips should always factor in the going for the National Hunt meetings.
Southwell Horse Racing History
They have been racing in the Southwell area since the mid 1800’s, originally at Burgage Green. A new track was opened in 1886 in land alongside the Ropewalk and Kirklington Road. This was shut down in 1897 amid serious safety concerns following the unfortunate death of a jockey. Racing resumed on May 16th of the following year at Southwell’s current site. The course benefitted from a much-needed upgrade in 1965 when the Enclosure Stand was opened.
The all-weather track was opened in November 1989, staging both National Hunt and flat racing. Jumps racing on the all-weather was later abandoned due to the high level of fatalities and injuries. In 2012 the fibresand track was washed away after major flooding. The rising water levels caused £6million worth of damage after reaching as high as nine inches inside some of the buildings on the course. Southwell’s fixtures were temporarily switched to Wolverhampton and Lingfield. The course was up and running again just two months later.
The All-weather now makes up one-fifth of the racing fixture list in Britain. Southwell is an integral part of the All-Weather Championship season which is made up of 200 fixtures between October and the end of March.
The Championship consists of more than 1400 races held at Southwell, Kempton Park, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Chelmsford City. The season concludes with the All-Weather Championships finals day at Lingfield and the Season Finale at Newcastle.
Southwell Ladies Day
Southwell now hosts 50 all-weather meetings a year and around 75 in total, making it one of the busiest venues in the UK. There are no major races at Southwell but Ladies Day in August always attracts a very large crowd and is regarded as the biggest day of the season.
Family Fun Day in mid-July is also very popular with extra entertainments laid on for the young racegoers. Southwell also stage a Nottinghamshire Sports Day at the August Bank Holiday meeting.
Southwell Famous Races and Racehorses
Southwell horse racing tips may seem far removed from the Grand National but the 2009 Aintree winner did race here. For two years, Southwell staged the valuable Skybet Chase (formerly the Great Yorkshire Chase) while Doncaster racecourse was under renovation. Jockey Andrew Thornton rode the winner on each occasion.
In 2006 he rode A Glass In Thyne for trainer Ben Pollock and followed up in 2007 aboard Simon, trained by John Spearing. Simon survived a bad mistake at the second last fence before drawing clear of Ardaghey and Mount Clerigo. Back in fourth place was Mon Mome, trained by Venetia Williams.
Simon and Mon Mome both headed to Aintree for the 2008 Grand National. Simon was backed down to 11-1 and was still in contention when unseating Dominic Elsworth at the 25th fence. Mon Mome finished a remote tenth, giving no indication of what was to follow in 2009. Starting an unconsidered outsider at 100-1, Mon Mome stormed clear to beat previous winner Comply or Die by 12 lengths.
Southwell can lay claim to fame through the success of jockey Hayley Turner, a native of Southwell and a favourite of the local fans. Turner rode out for local trainer Mark Polglase before attending the Northern Racing School. She had her first ride in public aboard Markellis at Southwell on 27th March 2000, sadly the race ending in tragedy. The horse fractured a leg and had to be destroyed.
Undeterred, Turner went on to become the first female to ride 100 UK flat race winners when winning on Mullitovermaurice at Wolverhampton in 2008. She gained her first Group 1 win aboard Dream Ahead in the July Cup at Newmarket in 2011. Turner then struck again in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes riding Margot Did for Michael Bell.
Turner surprisingly announced her retirement from race riding in 2015. Her final ride at Southwell was a winner aboard Yul Finegold but she later returned to action in 2018 and has over 780 winners to her name. Turner will regularly feature among Southwell racing tips when she returns to her home track.
Southwell Betting Tips
Michael Appleby is the leading trainer at Southwell numerically and in terms of prize money over the past three seasons. Karl Burke and Julia Feilden have both returned a good level stakes profit over the same period. Melton Mowbray trainer Derek Shaw also makes our list of top Southwell betting tips with a fine record here.
Andrew Mullen and Luke Morris are the leading jockeys numerically on the all-weather. The riders to follow for profits are Ben Curtis, Kieran O’Neill and Paul Mulrennan. All three have shown an impressive level stakes profit.
Over jumps, Dan Skelton and Jonjo O’Neill both have excellent strike rates at Southwell. Jockeys Harry Skelton and Sean Bowen have both returned strike rates over 30% and Paul Moloney does extremely well with his limited rides here.