5th - 6th May 2011
Every year thousands of horse racing afficionados are feverishly awaiting the StanJames.Com Guineas Festival at Newmarket's Rowley Mile. This meeting not only honours one of the most historic race courses of the United Kingdom, it also - and most proudly - hosts the first two races of the Classic Races season.
The Rowley Mile is an unusual race track, not only for its remarkable endurance - it has been hosting race meetings for three-and-a-half centuries - but because it is mainly a straight. It measures one mile and two furlong; and is home of an infamous feature referred to as 'The Ditch'. Formed by the last four furlongs of the track - first two furlongs downhill then the final two furlongs uphill - the Ditch calls for the contenders to mobilise the last of their resources to make it across the line. Since its opening the course has remained largely unchanged, with exception of the stands.
The StanJames.Com 2,000 Guineas
Formerly known as the 2,000 Guineas Stakes - the StanJames.Com 2,000 Guineas premiered on 18th April 1809, taking its name from the original stake of 2,000 guineas placed on the race. It is run over one mile and is open to three-year-old colts and fillies. The 2,000 Guineas is the first race of the prestigious Classics Series, as well as one of three races comprising the Triple Crown (also including the Epsom Derby and the St.Leger Stakes).
The StanJames.Com 1,000 Guineas
Formerly known as the 1,000 Guineas Stakes - the StanJames.Com 1,000 Guineas was established in 1814 and first run on 28th April that year, the 1,000 Guineas Stakes is a fillies only race over the distance of one mile. The 1,000 Guineas is also part of the Classics, making it a highly competitive event for all involved.
The StanJames.Com Jockey Club Stakes
Formerly known as the Jockey Club Stakes - the StanJames.Com Jockey Club Stakes is a Group 2 flat race open to four year old and over thoroughbred horses. First run in 1894 the Jockey Club Stakes were originally held in autumn, over a distance of one and a quarter miles, and open for horses three and older. In 1901 the distance was changed to one mile and three quarters, before finally in 1963 being fixed on its current distance of one and a half miles. The age limit was put up to four years of age the same year.