CITY OF WATERFORD RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: circa May 1750
Final meeting: Thursday 15th May 1924
The Munster city of Waterford, at the head of Waterford harbour, is the oldest city in the Republic of Ireland. Racing was certainly taking place in the city in the middle of the 18th century, heavily supported by the various Marquesses of Waterford. They helped develop the racecourse and played an active role as stewards of the Irish Turf Club both at local and National level. The 3rd Marquess, Henry de la Poer Beresford, loved his racing and was a jovial character. On Wednesday 5th April 1837 he had ridden his horse Yellow Dwarf into third place in the Croxton Park Stakes and had stayed to celebrate his success. Returning with his entourage late to his hotel in Melton Mowbray, he was confronted by the Tollkeeper at the Thorpe End toll who requested to be paid before opening the gates. Nearby were tins of red paint the Tollkeeper had been using that day and rather than pay him they tied him to a door and painted the door red. On a second occasion he thought it worthy of a laugh to hire several chimney sweeps and pay for them to occupy first class rail coaches to the races just to see how genuine first class passengers would react. The 1840 Grand National was won by Jerry, but the Marquess rode his own horse, The Sea, and also owned another unplaced horse Columbine in the race. Races were held on a number of courses, including Curraghkiely and Dungarvan, but the steeplechase meeting on Wednesday 5th January 1870 was held on a 3 mile course over sporting country just a mile from the centre and opened with the two mile Selling Stakes which went to Mr Thomas Wedger’s Polly Dill. The principal Waterford Plate saw a titanic battle between Flyaway Jack and Lough Cullen, with the former just prevailing.  In the late 19th Century Tramore racecourse, about 8 miles from Waterford, was leased by local businessman Martin J Murphy who was prepared to invest in the course by creating a golf course and hotel, although in 1911 his project was threatened with disaster when the sea flooded the golf course and put racing in jeopardy. Many of the meetings in the latter part of the 19th century were billed as ‘Waterford and Tramore’, and Murphy, not to be deterred by the difficulties with the sea, built a new course at Tramore in 1912, close to the railway station. Unfortunately he died in 1920, missing out on many of the benefits of the merger between Waterford and Tramore. The final ‘City of Waterford’ meeting took place on Thursday 15th May 1924.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Marquess of Waterford, Earl of Huntingdon, Viscount Hastings
Principal Races Waterford Plate, Waterford Steeplechase

Wednesday 5th January 1870
Waterford Plate over 3 miles
1. Flyaway Jack, chestnut horse owned by Mr John Day
2. Lough Cullen, bay mare owned by Mr P Purcell
3. Caustic, bay gelding owned by Captain McCraith

The final meeting took place on Thursday 15th May 1924.
Course today At a range of courses including Curraghkiely and Dungarvan.
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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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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