BICESTER RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Friday 24th September 1734
Final meeting: Saturday 3rd April 1886
The earliest record of racing taking place in the Oxford town of Bicester was in September 1734 when Bailey’s Racing Register began to inlude results. In the first race on Friday 24th September 1734 Lord Portmore’s Merry Andrew defeated the Duke of Bridgewater’s Bob, indicating the high profile supporters the meeting attracted in those early days. At the September 1837 meeting Flat racing was introduced, while at the September 1838 meeting a number of the races were confined to horses which were ‘at quarters with the Bicester troops’, and it is surprising how large the fields were for these races. The 19th September 1860 meeting attracted an immense crowd, boosted because the Midland Railway laid on Special Excursions from Nottingham and Derby, while some 25 years later crowds were once again boosted when The Prince of Wales attended the meeting on Saturday 3rd April 1886. However, this proved to be the final meeting in the town.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Friday 24th September 1734

Bicester £20 Prize
1. Merry Andrew owned by Lord Portmore
2. Bob owned by The Duke of Bridgewater
3. Lady Legs owned by Mr Try

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that racing took place at Bicester in 1837, with details of that first meeting shown below. Whyte reports that the meeting towards the end of September 1839 had the following races:-
Bicester Town Plate;
Bicester Handicap;
Bicester Hunters Stakes

Local Patrons Viscount Villiers, Duke of Bridgewater, Lord Portmore
Principal Races Viscount Villiers Cup, Bicester Town Plate, Bicester Selling Stakes

Saturday 30th September 1837

The Bicester Sweepstakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Unnamed filly by Reveller owned by Mr Sadler
2. Exchange owned by Mr Aplin
3. Adelaide owned by Mr Lebard

The Viscount Villiers Cup
1. Mountainous owned by Mr Painter
2. The winner beat 3 rivals and was ridden by J Roots

The Bicester Stakes over 2 miles
1. Saccharina owned by Mr Smith
2. Vandyke owned by Mr Matthews
3. Baronet owned by Mr Phelps

Tuesday 25th September 1838

Bicester Town Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Unnamed filly by Reveller owned by Mr Sadler
2. Talebearer owned by Mr Stevens
3. Fury owned by Mr Savin

The Bicester Stakes over 2 miles
1. Single-Peeper owned by Mr Robbins
2. Czar owned by Mr Goodlake
3. Saccharina owned by Mr Barker

Monday 20th September 1841

Bicester Town Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Aimwell owned by Mr Parr
2. Jenny Jones owned by Mr Smith
3. Unnamed gelding out of Dewdrop owned by Mr Aplin

The Bicester Selling Stakes over 2 miles
1. White-Stockings owned by Mr Wesley
2. Stickler owned by Mr Legge
3. Duenna owned by Mr Ekin

Bicester Handicap over 2 miles and the distance
1. Kate Kearney owned by Mr Jenkins
2. Traitress owned by Mr Lucas

The final meeting took place on Monday 20th September 1841 and results, which are shown above, were included in Baily's Racing Register.
Course today Point-to-point racing still takes place in the Bicester area at Whitfield.
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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