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Earliest meeting: Thursday 20th July 1721
Final meeting: Wednesday 25th April 1855
The remote moorland farming village of Carnwath sits on the edge of the Pentland Hills in Lanarkshire. The village, midway between the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, boasts the oldest foot race in Scotland. The Red Hose (stockings) Race was first run in 1508, initiated by King James IV of Scotland who leased the Carnwath estate to the Lockhart family on the understanding that they would finance the prize for the foot race. It was a highly sought after title, with the winner awarded a pair of red stockings. The event continues to his day, with the local Laird presenting the pair of stockings to the much celebrated winner. However, in the early part of the 18th century and middle of the 19th century the village was hosting races of a different kind. The newspaper extract shown below advertises a meeting which was staged on Thursday 20th July 1721. Furthermore, the first steeplechase meeting in the village was held on Monday 13th March 1843 on a course containing 35 fences, but the course was heavily criticised because it was ill chosen for spectators; those who saw the start could not see the finish and vice versa. Nevertheless, the meeting did attract spectators from Edinburgh, 25 miles away, and from Glasgow and all places inbetween. The main race was won by Mr Preston’s Pussey, beating Zoroaster, Giles and Salesman. A Sweepstake followed which was also won by Pussey, this time at the main expense of Wee Pet and Prejudice. After racing lapsed for a few years a race meeting was held on Friday 14th March 1851 on a course which had been used for races in the distant past. The main Hunters Sweepstake was contested over 4 miles and went to Mr Redfern’s The Gent, overcoming the determined challenge of Beddington Park and The Douglas. Despite the remoteness of the village, meetings continued for the next 4 years, finishing on Wednesday 25th April 1855.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Jenyn, Mr Redfern
Principal Races Carnwath Hunters Sweepstake

The newspaper extract below is shown courtesy of the Caledonian Mercury and British Library Online.

Friday 14th March 1851
Carnwath Hunters Sweepstake over 4 miles
1. The Gent, chestnut horse owned by Mr Redfern
2. Beddington Park, bay gelding owned by Mr Merry
3. The Douglas, brown gelding owned by Mr T Williams

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 25th April 1855.
Course today In fields on the edge of the village on a course used for racing in the distant past.
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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing 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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
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