Beverley Racecourse History

There is evidence that a permanent track existed in Beverley as early as 1690 on Westwood and Hurn meadows, and by 1740 Robert Norris was made Clerk of the Course at Beverley. The first results to be included in Baily's Racing Register were from the meeting held in early Spring 1730, with results shown below. A 3 day meeting was held in June 1731 and results from that meeting are spread throughout the scans of the Members badges illustrated below. The first grandstand was constructed in 1767, costing the grand sum of £1000 which was funded by money raised from the sale of 300 silver admission tickets which gained free entrance for life for its subscriber. At least three of the silver tokens have survived to this day, with one shown below. In 1813 Squire Watt, of nearby Bishop Burton, bred and trained numerous winners which included the St Leger winners Altisidora, Barefoot, Memnon and Rockingham. The great Blink Bonny won a two year old race at Beverley in 1856 prior to winning both the Derby and the Oaks the next year. In 1885 the Watt Memorial Plate was run for the first time, financed from a fund set up in memory of William Watt, the son of the famous trainer Squire Watt, who died in 1874. During both World Wars racing ceased, but four years after the end of the Second World War the new Member’s Stand was opened, although it took a further 18 years before The Earl of Halifax opened the Tattersall’s grandstand. Currently the course hosts 19 meetings annually.

Beverley 1767.JPG (74728 bytes)

Early Spring meeting 1730
Beverley £10 Plate

1. Smiling Ball, chestnut horse owned by Mr Humberston
2. Smiling Tom, grey horse owned by Mr Gallant
3. Cuzzoni, bay mare owned by Lady Lowther

Beverley 1953.JPG (13469 bytes)
Beverley 1955p.JPG (19453 bytes)
Beverley 1957i.JPG (11060 bytes)
Beverley continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Kilpingcotes no longer operates as a racecourse, but does continue to stage the annual Kiplingcotes Derby.
Beverley junior 1961.JPG (24340 bytes)

Although Kiplingcotes is not a racecourse today in the conventional sense, it does host a unique event each year on a picturesque course in the Yorkshire Wolds. The Kiplingcotes Derby claims to be the oldest continuously run race in the English racing calendar. It may well have been contested as early as 1519, although the earliest record of it taking place was in 1555. A certain Thomas Carter of Helperthorpe, a lowly herdsman, was giving evidence in court and claimed to have witnessed the race run at Kiplingcotes Ashe on Shrovetide 1555. Given that Easter for that year was on Sunday 14th April, and that the race has traditionally taken place on a Thursday, Shrove Thursday would have been on 28th February 1555. In the early part of the 16th century hunting gentlemen from the parish donated £355 for a Plate and a cash prize, free from an Act of Parliament, to be given to the winner of the Kiplingcotes Plate. Although the race was open to all horses, invariably the race was won by a thoroughbred. In later years this became a problem because any horse or rider taking part in the event was disqualified from entering any future race run under Jockey Club rules. Fortunately in 1985 the Jockey Club relented and made the Kiplingcotes Derby a unique exception to this rule. The actual racecourse at Kiplingcotes held its final meeting on 19th March 1789, but the Derby is still contested each year over a 4 mile course, starting near the former Kiplingcotes railway station and finishing at Londesborough Wold Farm.
Thursday 21st March 1751
Kiplingcotes Derby over 4 miles
1. Chocolate, bay horse owned by Mr Reed
2. Hackney, bay mare owned by Mr Watson
3. Merry Harrier, bay gelding owned by Mr Wilks
4. Dunkirk, bay horse owned by Mr Witty

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.
Beverley 1965.JPG (16282 bytes)
Beverley 1970.JPG (16397 bytes)
1966 Gents 1967 Gents 1969 Gents 1970 Gents 1971 Gents

Tuesday 8th June 1731
Beverley 25 Guineas Plate

1. Whitenose, bay horse owned by Mr Heneage
2. Milkmaid, bay filly owned by Mr Witty

1972 Gents 1973 Gents 1974 Gents 1975 Gents 1976 Gents

Thursday 10th June 1731
Beverley 20 Guineas Purse

1. Careless, bay horse owned by Mr Thompson
2. Gander, chestnut horse owned by Mr North

Beverley 1977.JPG (17404 bytes) Beverley 1978.JPG (23822 bytes) Beverley 1979.JPG (18004 bytes) Beverley 1980z.JPG (15473 bytes) Beverley 1981.JPG (20439 bytes)
1977 Gents 1978 Gents 1979 Gents 1980 Gents 1981 Gents

Friday 11th June 1731
Beverley 20 Guineas 4 year old Purse

1. Vulpone, bay colt by Fox owned by Mr Fawcet
Vulpone defeated a field of 6 others

1982 Gents 1983 Gents 1984 Gents 1985 Gents 1986 Gents
Beverley 1987.JPG (16816 bytes) Beverley 1990a.JPG (10762 bytes)
1987 Gents 1988 Gents 1989 Gents 1990 Gents 1991 Gents
During the 1990 and 1991 seasons the racecourse underwent significant building works. As a result of this the 1991 programme was disrupted and the Green badge labelled 1990 was used by members to gain entrance for the entire 1991 season. Grateful thanks to Craig Binns for providing this information.
Beverley 1993.JPG (15397 bytes)
1992 Gents 1993 Gents 1994 Gents 1995 Gents 1996 Gents
1997 Gents 1998 Gents 1999 Gents 2000 Gents 2001 Gents
2002 Gents 2003 Gents 2004 Gents 2005 Gents 2006 Gents
Beverley 2009KT1.JPG (35836 bytes)    
2007 Gents 2008 Gents 2009 Gents    
The rare handbills shown below are provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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

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