ABINGDON RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 22nd September 1767
Final meeting: Tuesday 27th July 1875
The Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon, which lies on the Thames, was at one time the county town of Berkshire. Early records show that racing took place at Abingdon, on Culham Heath Common, as early as 1767, and lasted at the same venue throughout its history. The perfectly flat, oval racecourse had a circumference of 10 furlongs and a separate 6 furlong section for sprint races. At the inaugural meeting on Tuesday 22nd September 1767 the 4 year old Purse was contested over 3 demanding heats with Cadmus winning the first heat. In the second heat Phoenix pushed Cadmus into third place, meaning a third heat was required which Phoenix duly won. At the two day meeting on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th September 1800 the Members’ 4 mile Purse was won by Jack Andrews for Major Rooke, while a Purse restricted to three and four year olds went to Allegranti for Mr Fletcher. Racing continued for a further 75 years until the final meeting was held on Tuesday 27th July 1875.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Lord Ailesbury, Lord Warwick, Captain Bertie, Captain Hoar

Principal Races Abingdon Stakes, Abingdon Members Cup, The Old Berkshire Hunt Stakes, The Culham Stakes, The Holme Park Stakes, The Abingdon Cup, The Bear Wood Handicap Stakes, The Pusey Stakes

Tuesday 22nd September 1767

Abingdon 4 year old Purse
1. Phoenix, bay filly owned by W.Payne 3 1 1
2. Cadmus, bay colt owned by Mr Tombs 1 3 2
3. Unnamed grey filly owned by the Honourable Thomas King 2 2 dist.

Wednesday 23rd September 1767

1. Sloven, bay horse owned by W.Payne 4 1 1
2. Pine Apple, brown horse owned by Count Laraguai 1 5 3
3. Badger, grey gelding owned by Sir Fred Evelyn 3 3 2
4. Essex Nancy, bay mare owned by Mr Bloss 2 2 4
5. Grig, bay horse owned by Mr Kinneir 5 4 5

Tuesday 24th to Wednesday 25th September 1782

Abingdon Members Purse over 4 miles
1. John-a-Nokes owned by Captain Bertie
2. Sappho owned by Mr Cresswell
3. Grasshopper owned by Mr Twycross

Abingdon Give and Take over 4 miles
1. Copper Bottom owned by Captain Hoar
2. Juno owned by Mr Tate
3. Freeholder owned by Mr Davies

Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th September 1799

Tuesday 10th August to Wednesday 11th August 1824

Abingdon Stakes over a mile and a half
1. Triumph owned by Mr Ockenden
2. Milto owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
3. Nicolo owned by Mr R Pettit
Milto had earlier finished 3rd in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket behind Cobweb and Rebecca.

Abingdon Members Plate over a mile and a half
1. Monimia owned by Mr Messer
2. Miller of Coleshill owned by Mr Sadler
3. Grey Robin owned by Mr Dundas

Abingdon Members Cup over 3 miles
1. Triumph owned by Mr Ockenden
2. Cephalus owned by Mr Ransbottom
3. Blunder owned by Mr T Scaith

Wednesday 14th September 1836

The Abingdon Cup was contested over a two and a half mile course with 12 runners each subscribing 10 guineas. The result was:-

1. FELIX 4 years old 8st 7lb Owned by Mr Houldsworth
2. DIANA 5 years old 8st 13lb Owned by Mr Day
 3. LUCIFER 4 years old 8st 7lb Owned by Mr Robertson

Wednesday 12th September & Thursday 13th September 1838

Abingdon Cup over 2 and a half miles
1. Chapeau d’Espagne owned by Lord George Bentinck
2. I-wish-you-may-get-it owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
3. Calmuck owned by Mr Coleman

The Holme Park Stakes over a mile and a quarter
1. Doncaster owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
2. Zethus owned by Mr Isaac Day
3. Oberon owned by Mr Isaac Day

The Pusey Stakes over 2 miles
1. Barnacles owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
2. The Bodach Glass owned by Lord George Bentinck
3. Gimcrack owned by Mr Stevens

I am grateful to Bob Frampton, and his designer Dan, for the poster they have designed for Abingdon races.

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf records the September 1839 races as:-
Abingdon Cup over 2 and a half miles;
Witham Stakes over 2 miles;
Holme Park Stakes over a mile and a quarter;
The Old Berkshire Hunt Stakes over 2 miles;
The Marcham Park Stakes;
The Bean Wood Stakes over a mile and a half;
The Wolley Park Stakes over a mile and a half;
The Buckland Stakes over 6 furlongs.

The postcard shown above includes from top left: Maria 1827 Abingdon Sweepstake; Felix 1836 Abingdon Cup; Barnacle 1838 Pusey Stakes; Triumph 1824 Abingdon Stakes.

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

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 27th July 1875.

Course today

Whilst there is some uncertainty as to the exact location of the course, the likely venue is now covered by a supermarket.

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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