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Earliest meeting: Monday 7th September 1826
Final meeting: Wednesday 9th September 1840
Challock Lees Common, Kent was granted a charter by William I to be used as a racecourse and this was the most likely site for the inaugural race meeting at Ashford which took place on Monday 7th September 1826. The programme included the first running of the Ashford Town Plate over 2 ½ miles, with Partial winning the Plate after 4 heats of 2 ½ miles each. Imagine todays’ racehorses being asked to run 10 miles. The meeting was first included in Baily's Racing Register in 1833 when the Town Plate was won by Suffolk Punch. An Ordinary was often served at the Saracen’s Head prior to racing, with fireworks and a Ball at the Assembly Rooms in the evening. Meetings continued annually until the card on Wednesday 9th September 1840 when Munchausen won the concluding Ripton Stakes, after which the gates were then locked for the last time.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Viscount Strangford, Sir Edward Dering, Captain Wanley Sawbridge
Principal Races Ashford Town Plate, Ripton Plate, Lees Court Stakes

Monday 7th September 1826

The Ashford Town Plate over 2 ½ miles
A 50 sovereign’s weight for age event
1. Partial, a chestnut filly owned by Mr Tyr Jones – 2 1 0 1
2. Jack Bounce, a grey colt owned by Mr Scaith 2 1 2 0 2
3. Mary Anne owned by Mr Wickham – 3 3 - -
4. Maid of Kent, a bay mare owned by Mr Brown 1 – dis - -
5. Sophia, a chestnut mare owned by Mr Howard - - dr - -
6. Syntax, a white colt owned by Mr Heathcote 3 dr - - -

Wednesday 28th August 1833

Ashford Town Plate over 2 miles and a distance
1. Suffolk Punch owned by Mr Thomas

Ripton Claiming Plate over 2 miles
1. Caroline owned by Mr Messer
The winner was claimed after the race

Wednesday 31st August 1836

The Town Plate took place on Wednesday 31st August and was run over a mile and a half course. The purse was for 50 sovereigns but the winner was then sold for 150 sovereigns. The result was:-
1. LADY ANN 3 years old 7st 8lb Owned by Mr Watson
2. TICKET 3 years old 7st 4lb Owned by Mr Johnson
3. MORPETH 5 years old 9st 6lb Owned by Mr Brown

September 1836

1. MORPETH 5 years old 9st 4lb Owned by Mr Brown
2. EGREMONT 4 years old 8st 3lb Owned by Mr Hawkins
3. PUMPKIN 6 years old 10st 1lb Owned by Mr Smith
The Thursday meeting also held the Ripton Plate, where the winner received 50 sovereigns but was then subsequently sold for 120 sovereigns, with the following result:-RIPTON PLATE
1. PUMPKIN 6 years old 9st 3lb Owned by Mr Smith
2. TICKET 3 years old 7st 4lb Owned by Mr Johnson
3. MORPETH 5 years old 9st 6lb Owned by Mr Brown 

Wednesday 12th September 1838

Ashford Town Plate over 2 miles
1. Pumpkin owned by Mr Boreham
2. Gold owned by Mr Shelley
3. Maid-of-the-Mill owned by Mr E Bond

The Ripton Stakes over 2 miles
1. Maid of Hertford owned by Mr Cassidy
2. Maid of the Mill owned by Mr E Bond
3. Guardsman owned by Mr Dockeray

Wednesday 9th September 1840
The Ripton Stakes over 2 miles
1. Munchausen, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Bishop
2. Trim, bay gelding owned by Mr Simmond
3. Lyster, bay colt owned by Mr Dockeray

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 9th September 1840
Course today

On the outskirts of Ashford lies Charing Hill where there is now a point to point 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

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:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

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 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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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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