|Sandown Park Racecourse has always
been an avant-garde and pioneering course. Built in 1870, it was one of
the first functionally constructed racecourses with a striking main
grandstand which gave the spectators a comprehensive view of the track
devoid of obstruction, and also the first course that was enclosed.
Based in Surrey, and believed to have been the late Queen Mother's
preferred racecourse, the track's first race fixture was held in 1885,
and is now known as the Whitbread Gold Cup. These days the course hosts
jump, flat and mixed fixtures, and is one of the most eventful tracks in
the racing calendar, and is indisputably one of the most recognized
settings in horse racing.
In 1886, given the name after the magnificent 18th Century racehorse,
the Eclipse Stakes fixture was inaugurated, concocted on 23rd July by
the managers of the Sandown Park at that time. They were eager to add
some excitement to the racing schedule and offered a grand winning of
?10,000 ? an enormous sum at that time.
Concluding the jump season at the end of April, and possibly the largest
event presently held at Sandown Park, the Gold Cup meeting is a two day
event that features both jump and flat races. Until the season resumes
in November, a series of flat race meetings will be held at the track,
including the Totesport Masters.
In order to ensure Sandown Parks reputation as forward thinkers, and to
maintain the location as one of Britain's most contemporary venues, the
mangers have improved the capacity stand, executed a total renovation of
the Grandstand area and constructed the new Eclipse Pavilion.
In recognition of their innovative achievements, in the late 1990s,
Sandown Park won the South East Racecourse of the Year award, and
continued to do so for another 10 years in a row, verifying that it's
Britain's best loved racecourse.