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Earliest meeting: Monday 5th August 1901
Final meeting: Saturday 8th August 1908
The Essex town of Braintree lies 10 miles north-east of Chelmsford and 15 miles west of Colchester. Braintree, on the River Brain, is closely linked with near neighbour Bocking which lies on the River Blackwater. Although racing did take place in the 19th century when meetings were organised by the Friendly Society, they lapsed, so it was a welcome change to the town when Mr Robert Johnson and Mr W H Tilston suggested reviving the meetings in the very early years of the 20th century. Although the meetings did not consist solely of thoroughbred races, part of their programme was given over to races. The inaugural meeting was staged on Bank Holiday Monday 5th August 1901 on the Showground at Panfield Lane and was billed as Braintree Fete and Races. A crowd in excess of 7,500 attended the event, and results from the races are shown below.

This racecourse is not covered in any of the 4 Volumes of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Robert Johnson, Mr W H Tilston
Principal Races Braintree Town Hurdle, Licensed Victualler's Challenge Cup

Monday 5th August 1901
Braintree Town Hurdle over 2 miles and 8 flights

1. Violet owned by Mrs L Greene
2. Merry Thought owned by Mr G Brown
The winner won by ¾ length

Braintree Flat Race over 2 miles
1. Merry Thought owned by Mr G Brown
2. Dorothy owned by Mr R J Cooper
The winner won by 8 lengths

Licensed Victualler’s Challenge Cup
1. Dorothy owned by Mr R J Cooper
2. Kitty owned by Mr R J Cooper
The winner won in a canter

The advertisement below is shown courtesy of the East Anglian Daily Times on Monday 22nd July 1901.

The event was deemed to be so successful that a follow-up meeting was arranged for Bank Holiday Monday 4th August 1902 when 8000 people were in attendance. Results are shown below:-
Monday 4th August 1902
Braintree Flat Race over 2 miles

1. Kitty owned by Mr J Darby from Chelmsford
2. Rachel owned by Mr J Barker from Ipswich

Braintree Pony Race over 1 ½ miles
1. Noah owned by Mr E Cass from Great Waltham
2. Halstead owned by Mr H F Nash

Braintree £10 Town Hurdle over 2 miles and 8 flights
1. Box of Tricks owned by Mr W Digby from Chelmsford
2. Kitty owned by Mr J Darby from Chelmsford

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1903 map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Saturday 8th August 1908, although a similar event was organised in 1909 but horse racing was dropped from the programme. Later the track was used again in the middle of the 20th century for point to point races.

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

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