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Earliest meeting: Thursday 26th April 1838
Final meeting: Thursday 28th March 1844
The Lancashire town of Blackburn lies on the edge of the Ribble Valley 9 miles east of Preston and 20 miles from Manchester. It is most famous as a former mill town, with Spinning Jenny inventor James Hargreaves living in nearby Oswandtwistle. Racing first took place on Thursday 26th April 1838 with the card billed as Blackburn and Preston Steeplechases. The course was at Old Hall, Samlesbury and the main steeplechase was won by Mr Hindle’s Blucher who beat Tom Thumb and La Fayette. The meeting was firmly established when the second such meeting took place on Thursday 7th March 1839 on a course 2 miles from the town centre in Billinge End next to the Yew Tree Inn; the Blackburn 10 Sovereign Sweepstake was won by Mr Marshall’s Railroad, beating Antonio and Rector. The principal race of the day, the Blackburn Sweepstakes, went to Mr T Ashton’s Miss Fanny ridden by A McDonough. A Grand Steeplechase meeting was scheduled for Thursday 12th March 1840 but severe weather caused the race to be postponed until Monday 30th March when over 30000 people witnessed a Steeplechase over 3 miles of countryside starting at Wilpshire and progressing to the Bull’s Head on the Blackburn to Whalley road. The course contained 50 leaps and the chase was won by Mr Power’s Valentine from Lord Cranston’s Sir William. The final meeting took place on Thursday 28th March 1844, the card consisting of 3 insignificant Sweepstakes. The first minor race was won by Mr Ward’s Commodore beating Mr Lamplugh’s The Romp, while the concluding Sweepstakes for Hacks went to Mr Crofton’s Fair Penitent.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Lamplugh. Captain Broadley, Mr Knaresboro, Mr Marshall
Principal Races Blackburn Sweepstakes, Blackburn Steeplechase

Thursday 7th March 1839

Blackburn 10 Sovereign Sweepstake
1. Railroad owned by Mr Marshall and ridden by Powell
2. Antonio owned by Mr D Hornby and ridden by W H Hornby
3. Rector owned by Mr Lomax and ridden by Brotherton

Blackburn Sweepstake over a mile and a half
1. Miss Fanny owned by Mr T Ashton and ridden by A McDonough
2. Leander owned by Mr Knaresboro and ridden by W McDonough
3. Doubtful owned and ridden by W H Hornby

The final meeting took place on Thursday 28th March 1844
Course today

The fields between Yew Tree Drive and Billinge End Road still exist and could well be the fields on which the racecourse stood, and Billinge Wood is still in evidence. However, the Yew Tree Inn closed in 1971 and was demolished in 1984.

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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