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Earliest meeting: Thursday 14th March 1861
Final meeting: Thursday 14th March 1861
The Hertfordshire market town of Hitchin was first mentioned in the 7th century when known as a place where the Hicce people gathered, although in the Domesday Book the town is known as a Royal Manor. The town was the central point around which race meetings organised by the Hertfordshire Hunt were based. The inaugural card was held on Thursday 14th March 1861 in the nearby village of Buntingford. The small market town , on the River Rib, lies in East Hertfordshire and enjoys an ideal location close to the old Roman road of Ermine Street. Entries for the meeting were made at the Sun Inn, although entries did not come up to expectation and, as a consequence, fields were small. The course was an interesting figure of 8, containing obstacles of a sufficiently imposing nature, including a wide brook and formidable water jump. The meeting opened with the Hunters’ Stakes which saw Mr Hunt’s Flying Buck beat Miss Kensworth and Inkerman, while the feature race, the United Hunt Stakes over 4 miles, was won by Mr Hunt’s The Pilot. Meetings followed in later years at Stevenage, Pirton, Letchworth and Hitchin, continuing under rules for a further 17 years until a final card was staged on Friday 22nd March 1878. Even after this date meetings were organised well into the start of the 20th century, but were by then popular point-to-point meetings.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Dacre, Lord Royston, Earl of Strathmore
Principal Races United Hunt Steeplechase, Hertfordshire Open Steeplechase 

Thursday 14th March 1861
United Hunt Stakes over 4 miles
1. The Pilot, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Hunt
2. Bishop, brown gelding owned by Mr W Sworder
3. Tom Sayers, chestnut gelding owned by Mr J Smyth

The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th March 1861.
Course today At Tennis Court Farm in Buntingford.
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.
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    
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