Horse racing in Lambourn dates back nearly 300 years to the 18th century and was instigated by the Craven family.
William Craven, the 3rd Earl of Craven, started Lambourn Racehorse Meetings in 1731, a tradition maintained by his successors for a further 150 years at a range of locations, culminating in race meetings held on Weathercock Hill Gallops. Weathercock House was the training yard that was subsequently home to Jenny Pitman, the first woman to train a Grand National winner, and is now the base for Richard Hughes.
As a training centre, Lambourn grew slowly and it was not until the mid 19th century, when the transport system improved, that any quantity of horses were trained there. A key turning point came in the 1930’s when the Nugent family took on the Mandown Gallops and opened them up to other trainers to use.
A golden age followed in the second half of the 20th century when National Hunt greats such as Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter cemented Lambourn’s reputation as a revered training centre, a status maintained into the 1990’s.
However by 2006, the facilities on Mandown were in need of investment and modernisation. Their purchase that year by Jockey Club Estates was a significant development in that it represented the first time the company’s property portfolio had expanded beyond Newmarket.
In the last decade, following a period of sustained investment, the number of horses using the Lambourn Training Grounds has more than doubled.