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Earliest meeting: Friday 18th February 1859
Final meeting: Monday 22nd March 1886
Hounds have been kept at Berkeley since the 12th century and to this day the pack is still owned by the Berkeley family. However, the West of England Berkeley Hunt Group diversified from hunting, branching out into horse racing in the middle of the 19th century. Racing began on Friday 18th February 1859, administered by the Berkerley Hunt, although minor meetings had taken place before this date. The course was located a mile from the town of Berkeley with meetings continuing annually, one day a year, until the 1870s. Meetings then lapsed due to competition from the Bristol and Western Counties races, but were revived on Monday 27th April 1885 on a course which was extended from 2 ½ to 3 miles. The course was a glorious sight, with carriages lined around the enclosure, and the meeting began with the Berkeley Hunt Farmers’ Cup over 2 ½ miles which went to Mr R Kilminster’s Lactoline. The Berkeley Hunt Plate was won by Cinderella for Mr W George Canning, while the Red Coat Race was won by Sir Lionel Darell’s Brusher. The meeting continued for just one further year under Grand Nationa Rules, taking place on the old course on Monday 22nd March 1886. It began with the United Hunt Farmers’ Plate which went to the 4/7 favourite Folly Dester owned by Mr W Hawkins, while the Yeomanry Cup was restricted to troopers from the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars and won by Mr Smith’s My Lady. Meetings continue to this day as point to point events held at Woodford.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Right Honourable Lord Fitzhardinge, Hon. Fred Morgan, Sir Lionel Darell

Principal races races: Berkeley Red Coat Race, Berkeley Hunt Farmers’ Cup

Monday 22nd March 1886
Berkeley Hunt Red Coat Chase over 3 miles
1. Valeria, bay mare owned by Mr G Matthews
2. Priest, bay gelding owned by Mr W Harford
3. Corkey, bay gelding owned by Sir Lionel Darell
Betting: 5/4 Valeria, 5/2 Priest, 4/1 Joe

Course today At a 3 mile course just a mile from the town.
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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