BLANDFORD RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: July 1630
Final meeting: Thursday 29th August 1844

Blandford Racecourse, Dorset was situated at Blandford Camp, 2 ½ miles east of Blandford Forum. Race meetings took place as early as 1603, with an account of money spent on six days of dinners and suppers diligently written out by John Cleves, Chairman of the Borough, the total reaching £11 7s. The London Gazette of 21st to 25th March 1678 advertised a meeting at ‘the Blanford (sic) Course upon the first Thursday and Friday in May at which two plates were to be run for; the one, of 15 Pounds value, and the Riders to be 10 stone weight; the other of 25 Pounds value, and the riders to be Gentlemen and of 12 stone weight. Whoever is disposed for this sport must enter the size and colour of his Mare or Gelding with the Bayliff of Blanford the Thursday before the race, depositing 20 shillings’. By 1762 results started to emerge from a two day meeting on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th July 1762 when the Blandford Purse, over 2 miles, went to Tanner owned by Mrs Harrison, while the Blandford Stakes was won by Mr Orm’s Starling. Blandford racecourse had a telegraph communications station which enabled telegraphs to be sent between London and Plymouth in 3 minutes. The station closed on 30th May 1814 but, by popular demand, re-opened again in April 1815. Race Down continued to be used as a training centre by the Yeomanry after this date. Lord Palmerston, the long-serving Foreign Secretary, who in 1855 became Prime Minister at the age of 70, was a member of the racecourse and owned the runner-up in the Members' Plate of 1836. At that same meeting on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st August 1836 the prestigious Dorsetshire Gold Cup was won by Sir E Baker’s Spume, also winning the Member’s Plate the next day. The final meeting took place on Thursday 29th August 1844.
 

Blandford Races 1603; John Cleves, Town Steward or Chairman of the Borough.
Account of money received at the Races

On Sunday for Supper
On Monday for Dinners
On Monday for Suppers
On Tuesday for Dinners
On Tuesday for Suppers
On Wednesday for Dinners
On Wednesday for Suppers
On Thursday for Dinners
On Thursday for Suppers
On Friday for Dinners
On Friday for Suppers
On Saturday for Dinners
Total

£  s  d
0  17  6
2  14 6
9  6  6
7  15  6
10   7  6
10  6  11
9  6   5
16  9  3

11  10  6
4  1  8
82  16  3
Also received for the play for 6 nights £11 7s

There was a long list of noblemen and Gentry who attended the races, including Lord Milton of Milton Abbey, Lord Shaftsbury of St Giles, Lord Arundel of Wardour Castle, Mr Sturt of Critchel, Mr Willett of Merely House, Mr Portman of Bryanston and Mr Weld of Lulworth Castle.

Local Patrons

Lord Palmerston, Sir E Baker, Captain Campbell

Principal Races

Dorsetshire Gold Cup, Dorsetshire Stakes, Blandford Members Plate, Hunters Stake, Yeomanry Stakes

26th to 27th July 1762

Blandford 2 mile Purse
1. Tanner owned by Mrs Harrison
2. Violante owned by Mr Stroud
3. Valiant owned by Mr Orm

Blandford 2 mile Stakes
1. Starling owned by Mr Orm
2. Dormouse owned by Mr Sturt
3. Exotic owned by Mr Gerville

Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th October 1782

 Blandford 4 mile Stakes
1. Anvil owned by Mr Parker
2. Unnamed colt by Sulphur owned by Mr Martin
3. Champaigne owned by Mr Helyar
The winner wore Green with Black cap.

Blandford Members Plate over 4 miles
1. Cottager owned by Mr Compton
2. Unnamed mare by Prophet owned by Mr Parker
3. Poor Johnny owned by Mr Helyar

Wednesday 15th September to Thursday 16th September 1824

Dorsetshire Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Luzborough owned by Lord Palmerston
2. Masquerader owned by Mr Radclyffe
3. Champion owned by Mr Farquharson

Langton Stakes over 2 miles
1. Grand Compounder owned by Mr Davis
2. Beverley owned by Mr Farquharson

Blandford Members Plate over 2 and a half miles
1. Biondetta owned by Lord Palmerston
2. Agnes owned by Mr Cockburn
3. Black and All Black owned by Mr Farquharson

Tuesday 30th August 1836 & Wednesday 31st August 1836

The DORSET GOLD CUP took place over a two and a half mile course with 10 runners each subscribing 10 guineas. The result was:-
1. SPUME 5 years old 8st 10lb Owned by Sir E Baker
2. MAYFLOWER 5 years old 8st 7lb Owned by Mr C Finch
3. OUTCAST 4 years old 8st 6lb Owned by Mr C Finch

Also at the Tuesday meeting the records show that 2 further races took place, including the Yeomanry Stakes with the following result:-YEOMANRY STAKES
1. MORETON 6 years old 11st 5lb Owned by Mr R Oakley
beating 3 others.


The meeting extended to a second day on Wednesday 31st August and included a Members' Plate and the Hunters' Stakes when Mr Oakley's Moreton again triumphed beating 2 others. The Members' Plate finished:-
1. SPUME 5 years old 8st 12lb Owned by Sir E Baker
2. TOOTHILL 3 years old 7st 0lb Owned by Lord Palmerston
3. MAYFLOWER 5 years old 8st 9lb Owned by Mr C Finch

The Wednesday meeting also had a Hurdles Sweepstakes with the following result:-HUNTER'S STAKES ( 3 sovereigns to enter and 20 added by the course)
1. DUODECIMO 5 years old 11st 6lb Owned by Mr Galpin
beating 2 others

In 1837 a meeting took place at Blandford the week after the Salisbury raceweek. The DORSETSHIRE GOLD CUP, worth 100 sovereigns, was the feature race

Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 23rd August 1838

Dorsetshire Gold Cup over 2 miles
1. Arctic owned by Mr Galpin
2. I Wish You May Get It owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
3. Luck’s All owned by Mr S Herbert

The Dorsetshire Stakes over 2 miles
1. Joannina owned by Lord Villiers
2. I Wish You May Get It owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
3. Logic owned by Mr Finch

The final meeting took place on Thursday 29th August 1844.
Course today On Blandford Camp.
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:-

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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