Wolverhampton Racecourse History

Racing first took place in the Wolverhampton area on the Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August 1825 at Broad Meadows with full results shown below. It had previously been a marshy area but after significant drainage it became an ideal location for racing. It boasted both a grandstand and sufficient outbuildings so that, whatever your position in society, you had shelter from the elements. The main race of that first meeting was the Darlington Cup over 3 miles, although Lord Darlington only managed the runners-up spot when beaten by Euphrates. In 1853 the Wolverhampton Hurdle took place and saw huge wagers on a horse called Doubt, although there was little doubt he would reward his supporters. Racing ceased in 1878 when the owner of the course, the Duke of Cleveland, sold it to the Corporation. Locals bought some of the land and renamed the course West Park. However, the search began for a more suitable site for a racecourse to serve the people of Wolverhampton. The Dunstall Park Club Company was formed in 1887 and worked towards re-establishing a meeting at Wolverhampton on a 130 acre site it purchased. Robert Herman-Hodge became the first Director of the racecourse, a position he held, on and off, for the next 43 years, overseeing the first meeting at Dunstall Park on Monday 13th August 1888. In 1968 Wolverhampton nearly lost its fight to remain one of the 59 courses in the UK when a group of business men, led by a number of bookmakers, sought to buy the course for development purposes. Fortunately they failed and Wolverhampton goes from strength to strength. In 1993 the final National Hunt meeting took place on the course, while the same year the first all-weather meeting was staged on Monday 27th December. Currently the course hosts 75 fixtures annually.
Monday 15th August 1825
Wolverhampton 100 Sovereigns Tradesmen’s Cup over 3 miles

1. Hajii, owned by Sir T Stanley and ridden by Spring
2. Sir Gray
3. Grenadier
4. Sir Edward, owned by Mr Eykes
5. The Agent
6. Mazamd, owned by Mr Whitegreave

Wolverhampton continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Birmingham closed its gates for the final time in 1965.

The first race meeting to take place at the Bromford Bridge track in Birmingham, close to the A38 Tyburn Road, was a two day meeting on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June 1895. A galloping course with a right-handed running line, the course was an oval shaped circuit of 11 furlongs with a five furlong straight. Birmingham had many courses in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but Bromford Bridge was closest to the city centre. The course held some prestigious races, including the Champion Hurdle Trial and Birmingham Spring Handicap. Although the ‘Birmingham Boys’ , a vicious gang operating on racecourses around this time, came from Birmingham, for some reason they left the Bromford Bridge course to prosper. Racing ceased during the hostilities of the Second World War, but racing soon returned once the war had ended. Built on such prime development land, the course had to justify its place by attracting large crowds; increasingly this became a challenge. In 1964 the Birmingham Corporation made an offer for the land on which the racecourse stood and the management deemed the offer too good to refuse. The final meeting took place on Monday 21st June 1965.

Saturday 15th June 1895
The Aston Villa Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Posados, 5 year old owned by Captain H T Fenwick
2. Stone Bow, 2 year old owned by Mr E J Hobbs
3. La Brenne, 3 year old owned by Mr R Lebaudy
Betting: 5/4 Posados, 7/4 La Brenne, 5/1 Stone Bow

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1834 map shown below.
1939 Gents 1946 Ladies 1946 Gents 1947 Ladies 1947 Gents
The newspaper extract below reports on the two day meeting held at Broad Meadow on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August 1825 and is shown courtesy of Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle and the British Newspaper Online.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

1959 Gents 1959 Ladies 1960 Gents 1960 Ladies 1961 Gents
1961 Ladies 1962 Gents 1962 Ladies 1963 Gents 1963 Ladies
1964 Gents 1965 Gents 1965 Ladies 1966 Gents 1967 Gents
1967 Ladies 1968 Gents 1969 Ladies 1970 Gents 1971 Gents
1972 Gents 1973 Gents 1974 Gents 1975 Gents 1976 Gents
Wolverhampton 1979.JPG (19045 bytes)
1977 Gents 1978 Gents 1979 Gents 1980 Gents 1981 Gents
1982 Gents 1983 Gents 1984 Gents 1985 Gents 1986 gents
1987 Gents 1988 Gents 1989 Gents 1990 Gents 1991 Gents

The principal Listed race is the Lady Wulfruna Stakes over 7 furlongs 32 yards which is contested each March. Lady Wulfruna was the granddaughter of King Ethelred I and Queen Aethelflaed, and the event was first staged in 2002 when Air Mail was successful in the hands of George Baker. A full list of winners is shown below.
2002 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Air Mail, trained by Norma Macauley and ridden by George Baker
2003 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Rafferty, trained by Clive Brittain and ridden by Darryll Holland
2004 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Aleutian, trained by David Loder and ridden by Neil Pollard

1992-93 Member 1994-95 Member 1995-96 Member 1996-97 Member 1997-98 Member

2005 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Mistrail Sky, trained by Stef Liddiard and ridden by Franny Norton
2006 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Border Music, trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Martin Dwyer
2007 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Border Music, trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Richard Hughes
2008 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Jack Sullivan, trained by Gerard Butler and ridden by Jamie Spencer

Wolverhampton 1998.JPG (8715 bytes)
1998-99 Member 1999-2000 Member 2000-01 Member 2001-02 Member 2002 Member

2009 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Ceremonial Jade, trained by Marco Botti and ridden by John Egan
2010 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Dunelight, trained by Clive Cox and ridden by Ryan Moore
2011 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Dunelight, trained by Clive Cox and ridden by Luke Morris
2012 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Liby’s Dream, trained by Tom Dascombe and ridden by Richard Kingscote

2003 Member 2004 Member 2005 Member 2006 Member 2007 Member

2013 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Solar Deity, trained by Marco Botti and ridden by Martin Harley
2014 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Chookie Royal, trained by Keith Dalgleish and ridden by Tom Eaves
2015 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Sovereign Debt, trained by David Nicholls and ridden by Joe Fanning
2016 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Mister Universe, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning
2017 The Lady Wulfruna Stakes was won by Salateen, trained by David O’Meara and ridden by Phillip Makin

2008 Member        
Course visited on 7th February 2011. A compact, easy to view course which was not bustling on a Monday.

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.
Download an order form
  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    
Postage & Packaging    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com