BRACKLEY HUNT RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 8th March 1864
Final meeting: Tuesday 6th March 1888

Brackley, in Northamptonshire, is set in glourious countryside which is ideal for hunting.  The first record of a race meeting in the town was in March 1669, although the Brackley Town Plate was not contested until a 2 day meeting on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th April 1678. Skipping forward almost 200 years, the Brackley Union Hunt Committee administered meetings in March 1864 which had the support of members of the nobility. However, at the meeting on Tuesday 7th March 1865 disaster struck when the grandstand, which had been flimsily constructed, collapsed during the second race while full of excited punters. Many people were injured, some with broken ribs, and the Reverend W Bell suffered a broken leg. Meetings continued until Tuesday 2nd March 1869 when the attendance was significantly lower than previous occasions. The Open Hunters’ Steeplechase Plate was won by Mr W Blencowe’s Fleetwing, defeating his other horse Brackley. Nevertheless, the result was controversial because Brackley was the more fancied of the two at 6/4 favourite.  There was a lapse in racing for 19 years before a revival meeting was organised by the Mayor, Mr W Blencowe, on Tuesday 6th March 1888. The course was conveniently set within walking distance of Brackley, ‘with fences that were such as might be met on fair hunting ground, and a significant advantage of the course was that every aspect of the race could be seen from the winning field’. The meeting was well attended by the Grafton, Bicester and Brackley Hunt Groups but proved to be the last organised by Brackley Hunt.

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

Local Patrons Earl of Ellesmere, Earl Jersey, Viscount Valentia
Principal Races Brackley Gold Plate, Brackley Town Plate
Thursday 14th April 1687 Brackley £80 Gold Plate

Tuesday 2nd March 1869
Farmers’ Steeplechase Plate over 3 miles
1. Baron Slow, bay gelding owned by Mr T A Bawcott
2. Doctor Parr, aged horse owned by Mr G T Drake
3. Foxley, aged horse owned by Mr W Manning

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 13th March 1888
Course today Course conveniently set within walking distance of the town centre.
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.
ORDER FORM
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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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Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com