BANBURY RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: August 1727
Final meeting: Friday 24th April 1929
The first recorded meeting in the Oxfordshire town of Banbury was a three day affair in August 1727, with regular meetings following on for each of the next 12 years. In 1739 the meeting received Royal patronage in the form of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Frederick Louis and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. Ironically, straight after this meeting racing ceased in the town and did not return until 1829. Flat racing continued, but by 1839 National Hunt racing was also being staged in the town. The steeplechase course was situated between the villages of Hanwell and Banton, to the north west of Banbury. The final Flat race meeting to be held in the town was in 1846, but afterwards steeplechases were run at various venues in the vicinity of Banbury, notably at Mill Meadows, Nadkey, Crouch Hill and Claydon Hill. That final Flat meeting took place on Tuesday 4th August 1846 and closed a chapter in Banbury’s racing history, blighted towards the end by unruly behaviour and riots. The final meetings at Banbury were staged at Crouch Farm, about a mile outside the town centre heading towards Chipping Norton. It was the best of the many Banbury courses, 10 furlongs in circumference, with a natural viewing hill from Crouch Hill and a grandstand. The final National Hunt meeting was staged on Friday 24th April 1929.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Sir H Monnock, Mr Cockbill, Mr George
Principal Races

Banbury Stakes, Banbury Steeplechase, Warden Hill Stakes, Banbury Cross Local Chase, Banbury Sweepstake

Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Banbury in 1729, with the meeting being held in July and the result shown below.

Friday 29th July 1729

Banbury £40 Plate
1. Lady Thigh owned by Mr Bertie
2. Staghunter owned by Sir H Monnock
3. Miss Nesham owned by Mr Cole

Thursday 7th March 1839

Banbury 10 Sovereign Sweepstake
1. Little Bob owned by Mr Cockbill and ridden by Oliver
2. Needwood owned and ridden by Mr G Ball
3. Acrator owned and ridden by Mr C Simmond

Banbury 5 Sovereign Sweepstake
1. Pilot owned by Mr George and ridden by Barker
2. Jerry owned by Mr Payne and ridden by Oliver
3. Brandy Nun owned by Mr T Hartley

The final Flat race meeting to be held in the town was in 1846, but steeplechases were run at various venues in the vicinity of Banbury, notably at Mill Meadows, Nadkey, Crouch Hill and Claydon Hill. The final meetings at Banbury were staged at Crouch Farm about a mile outside the town centre, heading towards Chipping Norton. It was the best of the Banbury course, 10 furlongs in circumference, with a natural viewing hill from Crouch Hill and a grandstand. That final Flat meeting took place on Tuesday 4th August 1846.

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

The final National Hunt meeting was staged on 24th April 1929.

Course today

 In a variety of villages in the vicinity of the town, but finishing at Crouch Hill Farm.

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:-

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 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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