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Earliest meeting: Sometime in 1727
Final meeting: Tuesday 22nd March 1881
The Sporting Magazine recorded a Spring meeting in the Northamptonshire town of Daventry on Tuesday 3rd April 1838, one of the earliest to be held in the town. The main course over 4 miles was laid out between Drayton Grange and Dunchurch. However, it is clear that racing took place in the town at least 100 years before this date because the ‘County History of Northamptonshire’ records that a meeting was held in 1727 in which there was a 60 Guineas Purse, a 30 Guineas Purse and a £15 purse. The 30 Guineas race was for Galloways, the £15 Purse of little consequence, but the 60 Guineas Give and Take race, each horse carrying 9st, was run over three heats. In the First Heat Smiling Molly defeated Cupid; in the Second Heat Dumplin defeated Smiling Betty Bircher; this led to a deciding Third Heat in which 7 started. The result is given below:-
30 Guineas Purse
1. Smiling Molly
2. Dumplin
3. Cupid
4. Smiling Betty Bircher
5. Fanny Rock
6. Cripple
7. Why-Ask-Ye who was distanced

 The aforementioned Tuesday 3rd April 1838 meeting opened with the Daventry Hurdle Stakes in which Mr Russell’s Laurel beat Catch-Fly and Augusta. But the significant race was the four mile steeplechase which was a great pointer to the outcome of the very first Aintree Grand National run a year later in 1839. The winner was Lottery, once again ridden by Jem Mason, whilst Captain Becher (of Bechers Brook fame) switched to Captain Child’s Conrad for the National but Conrad was unplaced in this Daventry race. Meetings lapsed for a spell, but in the 12 years between 1869 and 1881 the steeplechase races took place at the foot of Borough Hill, when stands were erected on the natural viewing slopes. However, the meeting had to be abandoned in 1882 because the new rail line between Weedon and Daventry ran right through the centre of the course. The final meeting was held on Tuesday 22nd March 1881.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Lamb, Captain Kingscote
Principal Races Daventry Hurdle Stakes, Daventry Steeplechase

Tuesday 3rd April 1838

Daventry Hurdles Stakes
1. Laurel owned by Mr Russell
2. Catch-Fly owned by Mr Fletcher
3. Augusta owned by Mr Bliss

Daventry 4 mile Steeplechase
1. Lottery owned by Mr Elmore and ridden by Jem Mason
2. Vivian owned by Captain Lamb and ridden by Captain Becher
3. The Spiller owned by Captain Kingscote and ridden by Parker

This race was a great pointer to the outcome of the very first Aintree Grand National run in 1839. The winner was Lottery, once again ridden by Jem Mason, whilst Captain Becher (of Bechers Brook fame) switched to Captain Child’s Conrad for the National but ran unplaced in this Daventry race.

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 22nd March 1881.
Course today Initially between Drayton Grange and Dunchurch, but latterly on Borough Hill.
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

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