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Sep 2015

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Newmarket nestles in a nook, a bit of an enclave, a pimple on the shoulder of West Suffolk and it's all about the horsies, horsies and card games[1].

If you're not an inveterate gambler, there's no real reason to be here unless you accidentally find a car park near All Saints Church and pull in for a pry.

That buys a brief amount of time but enough to confirm that it's all about the horsies, horsies and card games.

[1] Now, I've never liked playing cards apart from  Newmarket, that and Stop the Bus but definitely not the  sweary version.

It's all about the horsies, alright, and is the global capital of thoroughbred horse racing.

The town is also home to the National Horseracing Museum, Tattersalls the horsie auctioneers and the National Stud, whatever that is exactly. That's not to mention two internationally renowned horsie hospitals should any of their fetlocks need fixing.

It's reckoned one in three jobs here are linked to the trade and there are quite a few, erm, diminutive fellas. That doesn't mean you can strut your burly frame like a Cock o'the North around town.

Half of them are in plaster casts by the look of it and that suggests something going on, or not, upstairs on the fearlessness front.

More top notch facilities at the Gallops and these training runs are recognised as the best in the world. You're not really allowed here but since they don't let the horsies have a lie-in[1], they're all done and dusted by noon and there's nothing much to spy on.

If the scale of all this horsiness still isn't clear, take a drive to Cambridge on the  A14 where everything you'll see on your left to the  A11 has an equine connection and that includes both racecourses.

There are over 3,000 stabled thoroughbreds here but that begs a question. Why is the rhubarb round here not six foot high? Better than that forced stuff, it's thought you know what's being said, eh?

[1] Or a stand-up-in?

Away from the horsies, there's a little bit of history to the place. The English Civil War only went and just about kicked off here with Charlie I going on to do some 'stir' in the old Royal Palace. The palace is long gone but  teeny-tiny Tony and his Time Team have been seen rummaging around the back of what's now T.K.MaXX™.

The Clock Tower on the high street is a sight and was put here in 1887 to mark some golden work by Queen Vic, jubilee-wise.

It was paid for by a local racehorse trainer, Charles Blanton but not unveiled until 1890. All this from his winnings, actually, a cheeky 10 guinea punt on an up-and-coming filly in a photo-finish.

He just had to wait three years for Snappy Snap™s to be invented.