CIRENCESTER RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 27th May 1752
Final meeting: Friday 3rd October 1851
The Gloucestershire market town of Cirencester lies on the River Churn and was known as Cornium in Roman times. The first recorded 3 day race meeting in the town was from Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th May 1752 on a course at Cerney Downs. The opening days Purse was confined to 6 year olds and won by Mr Martindale’s Gustavus who beat Diana. The principal races on the next two days were for 5 year olds and 4 year olds and were won by Cricket and Trinculo respectively. Races continued to be held on a regular basis and were always well supported. At the 2 day meeting on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th September 1782 the 4 mile Sweepstake saw Soupire, for Sir G O Paul, defeat Prophet and Critic, while the next day the unfortunately named Shag won the 2 mile Stakes for Captain Bertie.  There was a lapse in racing for decades until a revival meeting was staged on Wednesday 2nd August 1848. The meeting was organised by Mr Waite of the White Hart Inn and took place on Tudmoor Common. The Cirencester Stakes was won by Mr T Wheeler’s Longshanks from Sally and Mad Moll. The revival lasted just 3 years until a final meeting took place on Friday 3rd October 1851. Today there is little evidence of the former racecourse which now contains a number of dwellings and Farms. Racing did return to the area in the 1870s under the auspices of the Vale of the White Horse Hunt Group when meetings were held on Dillis Farm.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Sir G O Paul, Captain Bertie, Sir F Poole, Captain Burnaby

Principal Races Cirencester Selling Stakes, Cirencester Sweepstakes

27th May 1752

Cirencester 6 year old £50 purse
1. Gustavus, bay horse owned by Mr Martindale 1 1
2. Diana, bay mare owned by Captain Burnaby 2 2 1
3. Unnamed chestnut mare owned by Mr Chambers 3 3 2

28th May 1752

Cirencester £50 5 year old Four Mile race
1. Cricket, bay horse owned by Mr Williams 3 4 1 1
2. True Briton, black horse owned by Mr Meyrick 4 1 3 2
3. Slouch, chestnut horse owned by Sir J Moore 1 2 2 3
4. Monimia, chestnut mare owned by Mr Snell 2 3 dist

29th May 1752

Cirencester £50 Four year old race
1. Trinculo, bay colt owned by Mr Snell 3 1 1
2. Puppet, bay filly owned by Mr Williams 1 3 3
3. Crab-Tree, bay colt owned by Mr Cornwall 4 2 2

Thursday 26th and Friday 27th September 1782

Cirencester 4 mile Sweepstake
1. Soupire owned by Sir G O Paul
2. Prophet owned by Mr Parker
3. Critic owned by Mr Lambourne

Cirencester 2 mile Stakes
1. Shag owned by Captain Bertie
2. Cottager owned by Mr Compton
3. Unnamed colt by Turf owned by Mr Page

Thursday 7th to Friday 8th August 1794

Cirencester Selling Stakes over 4 miles
1. Edwin owned by Mr Harris
2. Mother Red Cap owned by Mr Darling
3. Alderman owned by Mr Cauty
The winner was sold for 120 guineas.

Cirencester Sweepstakes over a mile
1. Unnamed colt by Fortunio owned by Sir F Poole
2. Miss Wilson owned by Mr Butler
3. Snip owned by Mr E Cripps

The final meeting took place on Friday 3rd October 1851.
Course today Initially on Cerney Downs and later on Tudmoor Common.
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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