ABERDEEN RACECOURSE

Aintree racecourse;Ascot;Ayr;Bangor;Bath;Beverley;Brighton;Carlisle;Cartmel;Catterick;Cheltenham Festival;Chepstow;Chester;Doncaster St Leger;Epsom Derby;Exeter racecourse;Fakenham;Folkestone;Fontwell Park;Glorious Goodwood;Hamilton Park;Haydock Park;Hereford Racecourse;Hexham;Huntingdon;Kelso;Kempton Park;Leicester;Lingfield;Ludlow;Market Rasen;Musselburgh;Newbury Racecourse;Newcastle;Newmarket;Newton Abbot;Nottingham;Perth;Plumpton;Pontefract Racecourse;Redcar;Ripon;Salisbury;Sandown Park;Sedgefield;Southwell;Stratford;Taunton;Thirsk;Towcester;Uttoxeter;Warwick;Wetherby;Wincanton;Windsor;Wolverhampton;Worcester;Yarmouth;York Ebor

Earliest meeting: Tuesday 1st October 1793
Final meeting: Wednesday 30th August 1876
There is evidence that racing took place on the beaches around Aberdeen as early as 1661, although it is likely that these were spasmodic events and that the main, prolonged period of racing so far north, started in 1793. Both the Aberdeen Journal and the Aberdeen Gazette made reference to matches taking place on the Links at Aberdeen in 1766 and 1787. The meeting, known as the Aberdeen, Forfar, Kincardine and Banff meeting was first run at the Aberdeen course in 1793. That meeting took place on the Tuesday 1st October 1793 starting with a plate for hunters to the value of £50. A full 5 day meeting, which began on 30th September, followed in 1794 and further meetings continued until 1799, although racing was then revived in 1815. In 1823 the Royal Caledonian Hunt Club held their meeting at Aberdeen starting on 30th August. Although the club had a choice of eight different courses in Scotland, they only chose Aberdeen just once. The main race was the Caledonian St Leger Stakes which was won by Stratherne. After a further lapse in racing, Flat racing returned on 30th March 1843 with a three race programme consisting of a Hunters Stakes, 25 Sovereign Purse and a Hurdle race. The Hunters’ Stakes over 2 miles was won by Harold, a bay gelding owned by Mr Webber who got the better of Binks the Bagman. The 25 Sovereigns Purse, run over 3 heats, required runners to complete two circuits of the course and was won by Clem O’ the Cleugh owned by Mr Bowman. The concluding event on the card, a Hurdle race over 2 miles and six four feet high hurdles saw Binks the Bagman gain compensation for an earlier defeat and show his versatility. Flat racing continued for a further 4 years during a time when stage coaches were at the height of their popularity. Indeed, at the two day meeting in 1847 the Coaching Sweepstakes was open to horses owned by Coaching Proprietors, with entries ridden by owners, coachmen or guards. Today’s trainers take their horses long distances if they feel they have a chance to triumph, but imagine the distances that they would have had to travel to get to Aberdeen, and question how they would have got themselves and their horses to the course, and where they would have stayed? The trainers had a saying, "I'd take horses to Aberdeen if there was any racing there and I thought I could win races'. Unfortunately there are no more races at Aberdeen and haven't been under rules since Wednesday 30th August 1876, although horse races outside of rules did continue until the late 1920s.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Lord Kennedy, Duke of Grafton, Northern Shooting Club, Honourable Captain Gordon, Marquis of Huntly (sic Huntley)

Principal Races Aberdeen Town Purse, Northern Shooting Club Purses, Caledonian Welter Stakes

Tuesday 30th  to Saturday 4th October 1794

Aberdeen Town Purse
1. Magdalena owned by Mr Baird
2. Rattler owned by Mr Swann

The Northern Shooting Club Purse
1. Magdalena owned by Mr Baird walked over

The Northern Shooting Club £40 Purse
1. Courier owned by Mr Craike
2. Kate owned by Mr Sawyer
3. Sally owned by Mr Cotterell

The Northern Shooting Club £40 Stakes
1. Courier owned by the Duke of Grafton
2. Scourge owned by Mr Garden
3. Sally owned by Mr Cotterell

Monday 1st September 1823
Caledonian St Leger nominations over 1 ½ miles
1. Stratherne, bay colt owned by Sir David Moncrieffe
2. Frank, bay colt owned by Sir Alexander Ramsay
 3. Eoina, brown filly owned by Sir Alexander Ramsay
 4. The Angel, bay filly owned by Honourable William Maule
5. Neil Gow, brown colt owned by A.Farquharson
6. Unnamed chestnut filly by Comus owned by Mr Bogue
7. Pirate, bay colt owned by Lord Kelburne
 8. Unnamed chestnut colt by Stamford owned by Sir H D Blair

Wednesday 8th September to Friday 10th September 1824

Aberdeen Meeting Stakes over 2 miles
1. Niel Gow owned by Mr Farquharson
2. Negotiator owned by Lord Kennedy

Aberdeen Ladies Plate over 2 miles
1. The Tod owned by Mr Hawkins
2. Richmond owned by Mr Fraser

Caledonian Welter Stakes over 2 miles
1. Meela owned by Mr Farquharson walked over

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 30th August 1876.
Course today On the Queen’s links which is now a golf course.

Aberdeen races had various spells of racing from 1793 through to a final meeting on 30 August 1876. This subscribers badge, providing a ticket granting premission to stand, was issued in 1817 for the races at Aberdeen, Fofar, Kincarny and Banff.

Thanks are due to Richard English for providing the scan and invaluable information.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The course was on the Queen’s links which is now a golf course.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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