CREWKERNE RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 10th April 1866
Final meeting: Thursday 25th November 1920
The earliest record of flat racing in the Somerset town of Crewkerne, on the River Parrett nine miles South West of Yeovil, was on Tuesday 24th March 1868 when a meeting was held at West Chinnock. The meeting did not prove to be particularly popular and Flat racing ceased just two years later. However, National Hunt racing was also held in the vicinity of Crewkerne prior to Flat racing taking place, when in 1866 the course was chosen to host a special race in the National Hunt calendar. The two day meeting took place at nearby Haselbury Plucknett from Tuesday 10th to Wednesday 11th April 1866. The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, now contested at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March, was held at Crewkerne in 1866 when won by Shangarry ridden by Alec Goodman. A remarkable, Frankie Dettori type of event occurred at the 1878 meeting when, on Tuesday 19th March the amateur jockey Ted Wilson won all six races. His first victory was aboard Lady Shrewsbury in the Harriers’ Cup steeplechase, four more victories followed, and his final ride on Lothiar in the Crewkerne Handicap Chase was also a winning ride. Between 1877 and 1883 he also won four National Hunt Chase Challenge Cups at various courses, but never at Crewkerne. The final Flat race meeting was held on Wednesday 18th May 1870, although National Hunt racing continued at West Chinnock until the 1888 meeting. Racing then ceased in West Chinnok and the next time a race meeting occurred at Crewkerne was on a newly laid out course on Roundham Common in 1906. Meetings continued until the outbreak of War, ceasing between 1914 and 1999. Although racing was scheduled to return in October, the meeting had to be abandoned due to the coal strike and a final two day meeting was held on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th November 1920.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Ted Wilson, Alec Goodman

Principal Races

National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, Haselbury Handicap Hurdle

Wednesday 11th April 1866
Grand National Hunt Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Shangarry, carrying 12st owned by Mr Studd
2. Golden Drop, carrying 12st 10lbs owned by Mr Yate Hunt
3. Helice, carrying 12st 10lbs owned by Mr Bidgood
4. Milford, carrying 12st owned by Mr T Moore

The final meeting took place on Thursday 25th November 1920.
Course today Initially at West Chinnock, then Haselbury Plucknett and later on Roundham 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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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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