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Earliest meeting: Thursday 9th March 1843
Final meeting: Thursday 19th March 1863
The east Ayrshire town of Cumnock sits at the confluence of Lugar Water and Glaisnock Water. In the past it has been famous for its ironworks, but also at one point in its history it held its own race meetings, with one of the first to gain widespread newspaper coverage staged on Thursday 9th March 1843. The races were entertaining, but never high class affairs, although they were very well attended. A meeting took place in April 1848, while the next year the meeting was held on Thursday 5th April 1849 when both sweepstakes were won by Mr Stephenson’s Irishman. Some private meetings were even associated with large gatherings, especially a wedding. A Scottish custom was for the bride’s mother to go to their new house armed with a bottle of whisky. The groom would ride on horseback to the house, pick up the bottle of whisky and ride back to the reception where the health of the newly married couple would be toasted. One of the last reported occasions when this custom was carried out was in Cumnock in 1850. There were other minor racing events in the town on an annual basis to coincide with the Spring Fair or the Scythe Fair, including races held on Thursday 13th March 1862 and Thursday 19th March 1863. The 1863 races took place in fields on Donaldston’s Farm when nine faced the starter. The first race was won by a black gelding from Glasgow, while both the second and third heats were won by Mr Wylie’s brown horse to claim the £5 Purse.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Donaldston, Mr Stephenson
Principal Races Cumnock Sweepstake

Thursday 5th April 1849
Cumnock 3 sovereign Sweepstake
1. Irishman, bay horse owned by Mr Stephenson
2. Lancer bay horse owned by Mr McAdam

The final meeting took place on Thursday 19th March 1863.
Course today Over 3 miles of good hunting ground on Donaldston’s Farm.
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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
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