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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 13th September 1709
Final meeting: Tuesday 5th August 1729
York can trace its history back to Roman and Viking times, and racing certainly took place in the vicinity of the city during the time of the Roman Emperor Serverus. There is further evidence of racing in 1530 and, amazingly, races were organised on a frozen River Ouse in 1607. These races took place on a course between Micklegate Tower and Skeldergate Postern. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held in York in 1709. They took place at Clifton Ings, although the going was often very heavy and frequently racing was cancelled due to the area being flooded. According to Pick in his Turf Register, the inaugural 3 day meeting took place from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th September 1709 when the Gold Cup was captured by Wart who won 2 of the 3 four mile heats, while the Clifton Plate saw Whitenose, for Mr Childer, defeat Sir W Strickland’s Castaway. However, Richard Tennant who was a resident of York wrote a large folio MSS book about York in which he claimed that the meeting took place from Wednesday 21st September 1709. Tennant went on to write, 'The meeting on the 21st September 1709 was ye first time that four mile heats were run in Clifton Ings, Sir William Robinson making a large stone bridge, nine yards broad, between Rawcliffe and Clifton Ings at his own charge. There was a starting and weighing stoop at this end, and at an equal distance stoops to ye turnings, stoops at ye far end, painted all white'. Racing continued at this venue until they were transferred to their present home on the Knavesmire in 1730. The final two day meeting took place on Monday 4th August and Tuesday 5th August 1729 when His Majesty’s 100 Guineas resulted in a win for Robinson Crusoe over the Duke of Ancaster’s Gentleman, while the prestigious Clifton Gold Cup was won by Colonel Appleyard’s Craftsman.

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

Local Patrons

Duke of Ancaster, Lord Molyneux, Lord Crawford, Lord Irwin, Sir W Strickland,  Sir M Wyvill, Sir M Newton, Colonel Appleyard

Principal Races His Majesty's 100 Guineas Plate, Clifton Gold Cup, Clifton Plate

Tuesday 13th September to Thursday 15th September 1709

Gold Cup worth £50 over 4 miles
1. Wart owned by Mr Metcalfe of Sandhutton
2. Stout owned by Mr Heblethwaite of Malton
3. Captain owned by Mr Wilks of Richmond
4. Squirrel owned by Colonel Norcliffe
There were 3 heats, with Wart winning the first two and gaining third place behind Stout in the 3rd heat.

Clifton £40 Plate over 4 miles
1. Whitenose owned by Mr Childer of Doncaster
2. Castaway owned by Sir W Strickland
3. Merryman owned by Mr Witty of Beverley
4. Plate Horse owned by Lord Crawford
5. Pendragon owned by Mr Place
6. Captain owned by Lord Molyneux

Clifton £10 Plate over 4 miles
1. Button owned by Mr Welburn
2. Milkmaid owned by Mr Walker
3. Brisk owned by Mr Graham
4. Raffle owned by Mr Megson

Monday 7th, Tuesday 8th and Friday 11th August 1710

Monday 7th August 1710
Clifton Ings 60 Guineas Gold Cup

1. Brown Lusty, brown horse owned by Sir Mathew Person
2. Wagtail, grey mare owned by Mr Wilk of Richmond
Also Pet, black mare owned by Mr Stapleton
Also Fancy, grey mare owned by Mr Currer
Also Silver Snow, brown mare owned by Mr Scarbrough
Also Countryman, bay horse owned by Mr Sunderland
Also Dandler, bay horse owned by Lord Irwin
Also unnamed bay horse owned by Mr Scroop

Tuesday 8th August 1710
Clifton Ings £20 Two Decanters

1. Hawker, bay horse owned by Mr Sunderland
2. Min, grey mare owned by Mr Hutton
Also Dancing Master, grey horse owned by Mr Currer
Also Twivy, bay horse owned by Mr Dawson
Also Swap, bay horse owned by Mr Childers
Also Buck, bay horse owned by Mr Watson
Also Wanton Shanks, chestnut mare owned by Mr Plaxton
Also Small Hopes, bay mare owned by Mr Lowther
Also Black Bess, black mare owned by Mr Beckwith

Friday 11th August 1710
Clifton Ings Punch Bowl and Monteif

1. Gray Ramsden, grey horse owned by Sir William Ramsden
2. Pepper, chestnut horse owned by Lord Carlisle
Also Flat Face, chestnut horse owned by Mr Currer
Also White Rose, chestnut mare owned by Mr Childers

Monday 4th August to Tuesday 5th August 1729

His Majesty’s 100 Guineas over 4 miles
1. Robinson Crusoe owned by Mr Bathurst
2. Gentleman owned by The Duke of Ancaster

Clifton £60 Gold Cup
1. Craftsman owned by Colonel Appleyard
2. Careless owned by Mr Chapman
3. Scarborough Colt owned by Sir M Wyvill
4. Ladies Toy owned by Mr Humberston

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 5th August 1729
Course today On the Clifton Ings in the Clifton area of the city.
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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