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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 9th March 1841
Final meeting: Thursday 14th December 1848
The County Louth village of Castlebellingham was looked over by the magnificent Castle of Castlebellingham, the ancestral home of the Bellinghams since the 17th century. The castle was burned to the ground in 1689 by King James II because Colonel Thomas Bellingham had helped William III before the Battle of the Boyne. The village became a hub for the county, with Fairs taking place on regular occasions, and these were sometimes supported by race meetings on a course half a mile outside the village. The principal race was the Fortescue Cup and the first such meeting of note took place on Tuesday 9th March 1841 when Mr Fergusson won the Cup with Vernal and the Sweepstake with his chestnut mare. The steeplechase course extended over 2 miles with 8 fences, quickset, gripes and 2 stiff jumps designed to test hunting capabilities. On Thursday 30th October 1845 the Cup was won by Mr Knaresborough’s Annette, beating Mr Gartlan’s Bugle, while two years later the Fortescue Plate, over 2 miles, went to Mr Doyle’s Prince George. The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th December 1848, although races were staged later in the century at Annagassan, just 3 miles from Castlebellingham.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Mr James Dolan, Mr William Hudson, Mr Patrick Crilly (Stewards)

Principal Races Fortescue Plate, Castlebellingham Steeplechase

Tuesday 9th March 1841

Thursday 30th October 1845

Fortescue Cup
1. Annette owned by Mr Knaresborough 1 1
2. Bugle owned by Mr Gartland 2 2

Castlebellingham Stakes
1. Wild Girl owned by Mr Abbot 1 1
2. Lizy owned by Mr Fitzpatrick 2 2
3. Dan O’Connell owned by Mr Monaghan 3 0

Wednesday 10th November 1847
Fortescue Plate over 2 miles
1. Prince George, bay horse owned by Mr Doyle
2. Isaac, grey gelding owned by Mr Tiernan
3. Meath, grey gelding owned by Mr J G Murphy

The final meeting was held on Thursday 14th December 1848 and the entries for the main race are shown below.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th December 1848.
Course today Over sporting country beginning barely half a mile from the village.
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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  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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