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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. 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. 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
2. Stout owned by Mr Heblethwaite
3. Captain owned by Mr Wilks
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
2. Castaway owned by Sir W Strickland
3. Merryman owned by Mr Witty
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 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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
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