Fontwell Racecourse

Fontwell Racecourse, situated between Chichester and Arundel in West Sussex, has the distinction of having the only figure-of-eight steeplechase course in the country. The design stems from the fact that, when the course was built in 1924, only limited space was available. Now part of the Arena Racing Company (ARC), which has invested heavily in the facilities in recent years, Fontwell Racecourse stages 24 National Hunt fixtures throughout the season.


Course Characteristics

The chase track at Fontwell is an undulating figure of eight, approximately two miles around, with a run-in of just over a furlong. There are six average fences per circuit, but the unusual twists and turns can cause problems for inexperienced chasers. The hurdle track is a more conventional, but fairly sharp, oval, approximately a mile around with four flights of hurdles per circuit. On both courses, big, long-striding horses are at a major disadvantage.


Track Facts

The most valuable race on the Fontwell calendar is the National Spirit Hurdle, named after National Spirit, who won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 1947 and 1948, but also won five times at Fontwell during his career.

Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, visited Fontwell in 1949 to watch Monaveen become her first winner as an owner.

In 1973, some of the scenes for the film version of Dick Francis’ novel Dead Cert were shot at Fontwell.

In 1984, jockey John Francome broke Stan Mellor’s record for the number of career wins by a National Hunt jockey, at Fontwell.

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