The History of Barbury Horse Trials

The Barbury Castle Estate comprises 2000 acres of farmland, woodland and downland just outside Marlborough in Wiltshire.

Horses have always been at the centre of the Estate. The name Barbury has come to be synonymous with top quality racing and training.

Barbury Castle trainer Alan King now presides over one of the largest National Hunt training centres in the UK.  He had success at Cheltenham in 2006, 2007, 2008 (including Champion Hurdle winner Katchit), 2009 and was back in the winners circle for 2011.  He also sent out three winners at the Aintree Festival in 2009 which included the Grade One winners Walkon and Voy Por Ustedes.  Alan had his highest number of winners (136) in the 2008/2009 season finishing third in the trainers table.

Alan King Racing can be contacted on 01793 815009.

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Racehorses

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Racehorses have been trained on these gallops since the early 1900s. Brown Jack, winner of the Champion Hurdle (1928) and a Royal Ascot winner a record 7 years in succession was trained here by Ivor Anthony. Ivor and his predecessor, Aubrey Hastings, also sent out five Grand National winners and three Cheltenham Gold Cup winners.

The roll call of Barbury trainers then went on to include: Michael Heaton-Ellis, Clive Cox and Alan King. The Barbury Castle gallops were used by Bob Turnell and Victor Dartnall and are today used by a number of local trainers, including Marcus Foley and Andy Turnell. On the eventing side, the Australian Olympic team also used the gallops in their final preparation for Athens.

Relaunch

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In 1962, the first Barbury Castle racecourse was turned to arable land due to the pressures on agricultural production. Thirty years later, in 1992, the legendary site was relaunched and the tradition of point-to-pointing reawakened. It has hosted point to point meetings for neighbouring hunts since that time and continues to be regarded as the UK’s top Point to Point racecourse.

Between 1995-2000, Count Konrad Goess Saurau pioneered timber racing in the UK by running England’s first all-timber race under Jockey Club rules – The Marlborough Cup.

Ancient Monument

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Barbury Castle refers not to bricks and mortar but to the set of ancient earthworks comprising an Iron Age hill fort, covering about 12 acres, adjacent round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

It is here that the West Saxons are said to have defeated the Britons at the Battle of Beran Byrig in AD 556.

The site is scheduled as an ancient monument.