BURTON UPON TRENT RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Thursday 28th August 1718
Final meeting: Tuesday 18th August 1840
The earliest evidence of racing in the Staffordshire brewing town of Burton on Trent was in 1718 when a meeting was staged at Outwood Hills, in the Horninglow area of the town, from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th August 1718. The meeting was widely advertised in the St James Evening Post and was well attended.  The next meeting that year was held on Thursday 20th September for a purse of 10 guineas over 3 heats, contested by Galloways not exceeding 14 hands high, with each horse carrying 9 stone. The final meeting in 1718 took place on Wednesday 1st October 1718 for a purse of 20 guineas for horses, mares and geldings carrying 10 stone. A condition of race entry was that the horses had to be entered at the Town Hall eight days before the race and then had to be stabled at public houses in Burton. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Burton on Thursday 21st October 1728 when the 20 Guineas Plate saw Lord Molyneux’s Foxhunter defeat Costly and Lady’s Delight. The principal race of each meeting was the King's Plate, but once the land at Outwoods was enclosed the race was transferred to the meeting at nearby Lichfield. Subsequently the Lichfield racecourse at Whittington became a golf course and the winning post and part of the grandstand can be seen to this day. Although racing ceased for a while in Burton, meetings began again in the early part of the 19th century, and a racecard still exists from the two day meeting held at Burton Meadow on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th August 1836. The two main inns of the day were The George Hotel and The White Hart, which closed in 1960. At the George Hotel lunch, or an Ordinary, was served for the race stewards before the Tuesday meeting on 23rd August, while a similar meal was held at the White Hart Inn prior to the Wednesday meeting.The principal race on the Tuesday was the Bretby Cup worth 100 guineas, once round the course and the distance, which was won by General Yates' Sylvan, a 4 year old carrying 7st 12 lbs who defeated a field of eleven. A further four races were held on the first day, with three more races on the Wednesday. The meetings continued to be organised for a further 4 years, with the final card staged on Tuesday 18th August 1840.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Molyneux, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Derby, Lord Warwick
Principal Races Bretby Cup, Anglesey Plate, Drakelow Stakes 

Tuesday 23rd August 1836
The Bretby Cup once round and the distance B90
1. Sylvan, 4 year old owned by General Yates
2. Partisan, 3 year old owned by Lord Chesterfield
3. Heron, 3 year old owned by Mr Fowler

The 2 main inns of the day were The George Hotel and The White Hart which closed in 1960 (see scan below). At the former lunch (or Ordinaries) was held for the race stewards before the Tuesday meeting on 23rd August, while a similar meal was held at the White Hart Inn prior to the Wednesday meeting.

A rare example of a racecard from Burton Upon Trent races is shown below:-

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 18th August 1840.
Course today Initially at Outwood Hills and then on Burton Meadows.
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.
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