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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 9th April 1872
Final meeting: Thursday 5th April 1877
The Beaufort Hunt is known to have been in existence since at least 1786 when the then 5th Duke of Beaufort had a pack of hounds. However, it took almost another hundred years before the Hunt Committee organised its own steeplechase meeting. That inaugural 2 day meeting took place in Westbury on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th December 1867 and was then a roving meeting for the next 11 years. The meeting was staged at various times at Dauntsey, Little Sodbury and Charlton Park before resting on Sherston and Alderton. The Beaufort Hunt was keen to share its meetings around a number of venues in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, moving to Dauntsey for the 1872 and 1873 seasons. Dauntsey is a small village in Wiltshire set on the flood plain of the River Avon and was the chosen venue for the meeting on Tuesday 9th April 1872. The Hunt returned there in 1875 and again, for the final time on Thursday 5th April 1877. The course was situated in picturesque fields, owned by Mr Jefferies, located mid-way between Dauntsey Railway Station on the Great Western Line, and Brinkworth. The principal race in 1875 was the Beaufort Hunt Cup which was won by Mr Hugh Owen’s Epicure.  In April 1877 the United Hunt Farmers’ race was marred by the death of 2 horses, the race being claimed by the favourite a distance in front of Rifleman and Eddington. Although this was the last occasion the Hunt visited Dauntsey, it transferred its attention to other courses for almost a century. The final meeting took place on Saturday 14th April 1956 when a certain John Lawrence, later to become Lord Oaksey, rode at the meeting claiming 7 lbs.

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

The article below is from the Western Daily Press Thursday 8th April 1875

Local Patrons

Marquis of Worcester, Lord A Somerset, Earl of Suffolk, Earl Howth

Principal Races

Beaufort Open Steeple Chase, Beaufort Open Handicap Chase, Badminton Handicap Chase, Open Hunters Steeplechase, 12th Royal Lancers Challenge Cup

Wednesday 7th April 1875
Beaufort Hunt Cup valued at 25 sovereigns
1. Epicure, owned and ridden by Mr Hugh Owen
2. Grecian Bend, owned by Sir T. Danteer and ridden by the Honourable C. Howard
3. Sweep, owned and ridden by Mr M E Williams

The final meeting took place on Thursday 5th April 1877.
Course today

After 1878 a new course for point to point racing was laid out between Dauntsey and Brinkworth, served by the Great Western Railway line from Bristol.

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 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
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