Exeter Racecourse featuring the Haldon Gold Cup

For those horse racing fans that live in Devon or near the south-west county, then there’s a fair chance that you will have visited Exeter Racecourse, with this course owned by the Jockey Club Racecourses.

Exeter Racecourse is primarily a National Hunt course, with racing having occurred in this city as early as the 17th century, with Charles II’s love of the sport leading to a surge in popularity.

The actual racecourse is located at the top of the Haldon Hills, with the track 850 metres above sea level and that makes it the highest located course out of any in England.

Bet on the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter

The Haldon Gold Cup is a well-known race which often sees Cheltenham Gold Cup pretenders make an appearance en route to the actual Festival, although it’s also a race which saw the legendary three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate pass away at the track.

The race was founded in 1987 when Richard Dunwoody rode Very Promising to victory, while more recent winners have been Politologue and God’s Own, with the latter winning for trainer Tom George as a ten-year-old.

Best Mate was originally a winner at this race in 2001, with stablemate Edredon Bleu then obliging in successive years in 2002 and 2003. This Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase always attracts a stellar field and tends to occur either late October or early November.

Horses aged four or over are eligible to enter this race, with the distance being two miles and one-and-a-half furlongs, while there are twelve fences to be jumped in total and it’s not uncommon to see soft ground for this encounter.

Season Opening Meeting in October

In early October, Exeter Racecourse’s season begins and this first meeting welcomes back National Hunt fans from the locality, with the card featuring a Novice Hurdle, a Handicap Hurdle and a Handicap Steeplechase among others.

The Best Mate Beginners Chase Day pays homage to that legendary Gold Cup winner, while Haldon Gold Cup Day is next on the horizon and that is clearly the most popular race meeting on the entire calendar.

There is then midweek racing in November, while there is then a Devon Air Ambulance Day before we move into the festive season and a Festive Raceday tends to occur in early December.

There is then a Christmas Race Day and a New Year’s Day meeting, with the horse racing tending to be compacted between just a handful of months and well before the Cheltenham Festival.