CROXTON PARK

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Earliest meeting: Thursday 15th April 1819
Final meeting: Thursday 2nd April 1914

Croxton Park racecourse was situated at Waltham in Leicestershire and generally marked the end of the Hunt season for most people, even though steeplechases were never on the cards at the track. Whilst the first occasion results from the meeting were included in the Racing Calendar was in 1821, it is thought that the meeting actually began in 1819. Leicestershire was blessed with a number of Hunt Groups throughout the late 18th and early 19th century, notably the Melton, the Belvoir and the Quorn, so it seemed natural to have a focal point for end of Hunt season celebrations, and Croxton Park became that focal point for one day a year, generally on the Thursday after Easter. Could it be that the first meeting was staged on Thursday 15th April 1819? At the meeting on Wednesday 11th April 1821 the card opened with a Maiden Sweepstake which went to Mr Cornewall’s Susan beating Lord Kennedy’s Madge. However, the principal race was the Third running of the Billesdon Coplow Stakes over 2 miles which saw Mr Gisborne’s Rebecca defeat Whynot and Friar of Orders Grey. Given that it was the third running of this Stakes Race, could the first occasion have been in 1819? Later in the day the Melton Stakes was won by Mr Trafford’s Windle, and the Forced Handicap Sweepstake provided consolation for Mr Thorold’s Whynot. Meetings continued annually, but the first time results were included in Baily's Racing Register was in 1824 when the Billesdon Coplow Stakes was won by Lord Kennedy’s Harlequin, beating Bog Trotter and Habberley. The Park contained a variety of courses, the main one being a pear shaped course of a mile and 7 furlongs in circumference, with the final 5 furlongs being flat. The Granby course stretched over 10 furlongs, while a New straight course was introduced for 5 furlong sprints. Despite holding just one meeting a year, mostly comprised of flat races with the odd hurdle race included towards the end of its time, the course welcomed a host of top jockeys. These included Mornington Cannon, Jack Watts, Otto Madden, Will Griggs and the Loates brothers Sam and Tom. The famous cigarette company Taddy produced a set of cigarette cards of top jockeys, almost every one of them having ridden at Croxton Park. The final meeting was held on Thursday 2nd April 1914, with the last race won by the John Hallick trained Verbena. There did not seem a particular reason for it closing, but it simply did not return once the War had ended.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Rutland, Lord Kennedy, Lord Muncaster, Sir Jas. Boswell
Principal Races Billesdon Coplow Stakes, Bunney Stakes over, Melton Handicap Stakes, Croxton Forced Stakes

Wednesday 11th April 1821

Croxton Maiden Sweepstakes over half a mile
1. Susan, a bay mare owned by Mr Cornewall
2. Madge, a grey mare owned by Lord Kennedy

Billesden Coplow Stakes over 2 miles
1. Rebecca, a black mare owned by Mr Gisborne
2. Whynot, a bay gelding owned by Mr Thorold
3. Friar of Orders Grey owned by Lord Plymouth
1 to 2 Friar of Orders Grey

Melton Stakes once round
1. Windle, a bay gelding owned by Mr Trafford
2. Ostrich, a chestnut gelding owned by Mr Warde
3. Woldsman, a bay gelding owned by Lord Brudenell
2 to 1 Toneham, 3/1 Windle

Forced Handicap Sweepstakes of 10 Guineas over a mile
1. Whynot, a bay gelding owned by Mr Thorold
2. Rebecca, a black mare owned by Mr Gisborne
3. Unnamed chestnut mare owned by Mr Neville

Wednesday 7th April 1824


Billesdon Coplow Stakes:-
1. Harlequin owned by Lord Kennedy
2. Bog-Trotter owned by Mr E Peel
3. Habberley owned by Mr Myton

Bunney Stakes:-
1. Bog-Trotter owned by Mr E Peel
2. Harlequin owned by Lord Kennedy
3. Habberley owned by Mr Myton

Melton Handicap Stakes:-
1. The Doctor owned by Mr Rose
2. Twangdella owned by Lord Muncaster
3. Joker owned by Mr Smith

Wednesday 8th April 1829

The Billesdon Coplow Stakes over 2 miles
1. The Tartar owned by Mr Hicks
2. Mr Fry owned by Mr Kent
3. Alphaeus owned by Lord Wilton

Melton Mowbray 50 Sovereigns Stakes over a mile
1. Mr Fry owned by Mr Kent
2. Crocodile owned by Mr E F Barkley
3. Unnamed filly by Fillo da Puta owned by Mr Doncaster

Croxton Forced Handicap over a mile
1. Alphaeus owned by Mr Sharpe
2. Mr Fry owned by Mr Kent
3. Unnamed gelding owned by Sir Jas. Boswell

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 2nd April 1914.
Course today At Croxton Park, near Waltham, and much of the course can still be walked today.
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:-

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

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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