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Lingfield History

Lingfield Park is situated in the heart of a beautiful 450 acre estate in Surrey, on the border with Sussex & Kent. Dating back to the 19th Century, the area was actually first established and recorded as an area of recreation as early as the 15th Century.

The advent of the new railway line serving the area in the 1880’s generated a lot of new activity in the area, with it being used by both Royalty & London Socialites, who began to stay at the newly opened and luxurious Dormans Park Hotel.

In 1890, Lingfield Park Racecourse was opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), who graciously allowed Lingfield Park to incorporate the Prince of Wales feathers in it’s official heading.  The racecourse initially opened purely for jump racing, but was granted permission to also operate as a flat racing venue in 1894.

The first ever Derby Trial Stakes was run at Lingfield Park in 1932 and was swiftly followed by the first Oaks Trial; these both still feature annually as one of our most prestigious fixtures in our racing calendar.

Racing has continued at Lingfield Park ever since, with the only break coming during World War II when the War Office requisitioned the estate for use as a prisoner of war internment camp for Italians.  The home straight was also used by the Home Guard for practising marches & attacks.

In June 1987, the owners constructed a Golf Club across the open fields and through the adjacent woodlands.  The initial intention had been to also include conference facilities, a motel, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts. However these plans were not deemed acceptable.

In the same year, planning permission was obtained for the installation of the first artificial racetrack in the UK.  On 16 November 1989, a new Equitrack all-weather racecourse opened, located inside the redesigned turf course. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of Lingfield Park’s innovative introduction of All-Weather Racing in this country in November 2009.

Arena Leisure PLC acquired Lingfield Park in 1997 and, in 2001 replaced the existing artificial surface with a new, superior surface known as a Polytrack. The new opened on 13 November 2001 to great praise from trainers, owners, jockeys and officials.

In 2002/2003 the back straight on the turf course was improved and, combined with a £5.5 million investment in the main grandstand and other visitors’ facilities in 2004, further helped to re-position Lingfield Park as a popular, well managed, scenic and profitable racecourse.

In 2007, planning permission was received for a 116-bedroom, 4-star hotel, leisure club, swimming pool, conference and meeting rooms, offices and a new golf academy overlooking the racecourse in the footprint of the old Silks and Marley grandstands.  Construction commenced in May 2008 and in the same year, a franchise agreement was reached with Marriott Hotels to create the Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club.  The hotel opened on schedule in May 2010.

The existing championship standard golf club, which has hosted the Surrey Open, is incorporated in within the hotel, with the 18-hole course open to both members and non-members.

In March 2012, Arena Leisure PLC which owned Lingfield Park & 6 other racecourses in the UK, merged with Northern Racing to create Arena Racing Company.  Owning 40% of the UK’s racing fixtures, Arena Racing Company (ARC) is the largest shareholder in British Racing owning Bath, Brighton, Chepstow, Doncaster, Fontwell Park, Great Yarmouth, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Sedgefield, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Windsor, Wolverhampton & Worcester and operates a 15th Course in Ffos Las.

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