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Earliest meeting: Thursday 22nd August 1816
Final meeting: Wednesday 15th March 1865
The County Cavan market town of Cootehill, part of the townland of Munnilly, was formerly established as a market town in 1725. It was down to the work of Thomas Coote to obtain the necessary charter to hold both markets and fairs in the town. His family have been prominent businessmen and judges in the town ever since, and his grandson Charles became the Earl of Bellomont. In the early 1800s the town held its own race meetings, the first three day meeting stretching from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th August 1816. The meeting opened with the Forest Stakes over 2 miles which was won in two heats by Mr Whaley’s Potsheen, while the next day the 3 mile Sweepstake saw St Sebastian justify odds of 4/6 over Lord Cremorne’s Tamerlaine. Meetings continued to be held intermittently with a three day meeting taking place from Tuesday 31st March to Thursday 2nd April 1829. It was held on a 2 mile course in which there were a number of ‘sporting leaps’ and it was not a surprise when the Challenge Cup was won by Mr Coote’s Tom Payne. The next day the Stewards Sweepstakes went to Mr Ward’s Crockford, with the same combination claiming the Sweepstake on the concluding day. By 1840 the Cootehill Challenge Cup was firmly established in the Racing Calendar, and when contested on Wednesday 8th April 1841 it went to Mr Thompson’s Lancer. Racing was still being held in the town in March 1864, as a newspaper article of the time reported a court session in which a thief is said to have obtained his money from Cootehill Races, while at the meeting on Wednesday 15th March 1865 the Cootehill Stakes was won by Captain Chelton’s Fox, beating Maude and Moonlight Jack. Races continued after this date, although they were minor affairs, and point-to-points were later run in the early part of the 20th century.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Thomas Coote, Lord Cremorne, Captain Coote, Lieut. G Coote, E Saunderson (Steward)
Principal Races Cootehill Challenge Cup, Cootehill Stewards Stakes, Stewards Hunt Whip

Tuesday 31st March 1829

Cootehill Challenge Cup over 2 miles
1. Tom Payne, chestnut horse owned by Mr Coote
2. Batelegs, black horse owned by Mr C Adams
3. Woolfoot, brown colt owned by Mr M Boyle

Wednesday 1st April 1829

Cootehill Stewards Sweepstakes
1. Crockford, bay horse owned by Mr Ward
2. Reefer, chestnut horse owned by Mr Hazard
3. Kate, chestnut mare owned by Mr Fivey

Thursday 2nd April 1829

Cootehill Stewards Sweepstake
1. Crockford, bay horse owned by Mr Ward
2. Troubadore, chestnut horse owned by Mr Suanderson
3. Red Robin, chestnut colt owned by Mr Saunderson

One of the first reported occasions when races took place was in The Northern Standard of 1839, and the extract is shown below courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives Online. The actual races took place on Wednesday 23rd October 1839 and results are shown below.

By 1840 the Cootehill Challenge Cup was well established and was contested on Wednesday 8th April 1841.

Wednesday 8th April 1841

Cootehill Challenge Cup over 3 miles
1. Unnamed chestnut horse by Lancer, owned by Mr Thompson and ridden by Mr Blake
2. Unnamed grey horse by Sug, owned by Mr Thomas Coote
3. Wild Girl, bay mare owned by Mr H Boyle

Cootehill Sweepstake of 5 Guineas with 40 added
1. Sweetbriar, chestnut horse owned by Mr Charles Boyle
2. Ruenna, bay mare owned by Mr W Fall

Cootehill Ladies Purse
1. Anna, bay mare owned by Mr Viech
2. Rollicking Bob, chestnut horse owned by Mr C Boyle
3. Father Matthew, brown horse owned by Mr Murphy

Thursday 9th April 1840

Cootehill Plate
1. Poor Pat, chestnut horse owned by Mr Thompson
2. Sweetbriar, chestnut horse owned by Mr Charles Boyle

Cootehill Stewards Hunt Whip
1. Moonraker, owned and ridden by Mr Thomas Coote
2. Brunette, owned by Mr Charles Boyle
3. Sunbeam, owned by Mr F Dawson
4. Goldfinch, owned by Mr Clarke

This seems to have established itself as a regular meeting and details of the 1841 event, held on Wednesday 7th April 1841, are taken from the Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier.

Racing was still being held in the town in 1864, as a newspaper article of the time reported a court session in which a thief is said to have obtained his money from Cootehill Races, while the final meeting of note was held on Wednesday 15th March 1865.

Course today A two mile course with several sporting leaps on the outskirts of the town.
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

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