DERBY RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 3rd October 1752
Final meeting: Wednesday 9th August 1939
Although racing is mentioned taking place in the Derbyshire county city of Derby in a publication in 1639, the earliest evidence of racing on Sinfin Moor was 1707, but it was not until 1748 that Sinfin Moor became firmly established as Derby’s premier racecourse. The first results listed in the ‘Historical List of Races’ were from a three day meeting in Derby which took place from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th October 1752 when the Give and Take Selling Race was won by Oh My Eye owned by Miss Sherley, with the winner to be sold for 20 Guineas. The next day the Weight for Age Handicap saw Grey Legs beat Captain Becher’s Sky Rocket. The Sporting Magazine reported on a meeting on Tuesday 5th August 1760 which was held on nearby Sinfin Moor, where racing continued for a prolonged period until transferring to Siddals in time for the 1831 meeting, remaining there for just 4 years before moving to its final loaction. The coming of the railway meant that racing moved to Little Chester in 1848 and a grandstand was erected in 1852. Derby Racecourse was described in the 1859 London Illustrated News as, 'A pretty little racecourse, with an oblong form, a mile and a quarter round, and with a straight run-in of nearly half a mile, situated on the Nottingham Road', At this time the races were 'managed' by Mr Marshall from Nottingham and consisted of a Spring Meeting in February and two days in September. The grandstand was described as 'a remarkably neat structure, with all modern appliances'. The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, over 4 miles and 24 fences, now contested at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March, was held at Derby on five occasions, the first in 1879 when Bellringer was ridden by Arthur Coventry, and the last in 1892 when the Lord Royston owned Royal Buck was ridden to victory by Mr Yorke. A new course of a mile in length was introduced in the 1890’s. Racing ceased during the First World War but resumed shortly afterwards. The final National Hunt meeting was held on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st February 1939, while a 3 day Flat meeting was staged from Monday 7th to Wednesday 9th August 1939. The course closed during the War and the owners, Derby Recreation Company, were refused permission by the Council to hold any further meetings in 1942.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duke of Devonshire, Lord Fitzwilliam, Lord Anson, Sir T Mostyn

Principal Races Derby Gold Cup, Sixty Guineas Sweepstake

3rd October 1752

Derby 4 year old Stakes over 2 miles
1. Mettle, grey horse owned by Mr Hunt
2. Snip, bay horse owned by Mr Shield
3. Northern Nancy, grey mare owned by Mr Howe

4th October 1752

Derby Give and Take Selling Race
(Winner to be sold for 20 Guineas)
1. Oh My Eye, black mare owned by Miss Sherley
2. Miss Julia, black mare owned by Mr Farrington
3. Silver Heels, bay gelding owned by Mr Brook

5th October 1752

Derby £50 Weight for Age
1. Grey Legs, bay mare owned by Mr Nelson
2. Sky Rocket, chestnut gelding owned by Captain Becher
3. Partner, chestnut horse owned by Mr Ann

Tuesday 27th & Wednesday 28th July 1824

Derby Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Princess Royal owned by Sir T Mostyn
2. Rein Deer owned by Mr Heathcote

Sixty Guineas Sweepstake (2 miles) given by Duke of Devonshire
1. Nitrogen owned by Lord Fitzwilliam
2. Cheshire Lass owned by Lord Anson
3. Contention owned by Mr Platel

Derby Racecourse was described in the 1859 London Illustrated News as, 'A pretty little racecourse, with an ablong form, a mile and a quarter round, and with a straight run-in of nearly half a mile, situated on the Nottingham Road', At this time the races were 'managed' by Mr Marshall from Nottingham and consisted of a Spring Meeting in February and two days in September. The grandstand was described as 'a remarkably neat structure, with all modern appliances'. An illustration of the course from that time is shown above.

Less than 2 miles from the Midland Railway Station, near to the Nottingham Road. Map below is from 1836:-

The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, over 4 miles and 24 fences, is now contested at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March, but on 5 occasions it was held at Derby, and the results are shown below.
1879 Bellringer ridden by Arthur Coventry
1882 Llantarnam ridden by Ted Wilson
1887 Monkshood ridden by Roddy Owen
1892 Royal Buck ridden by Lord Royston
1894 Philactery ridden by Wilfred Ricardo

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

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 19th August 1939.
Course today

Initially on Sinfin Moor and then Siddals, before the Racecourse Ground.

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

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

1887 1888 1889 1890
1891 1892 1893 1894
1895 1896 1897 1898
1899 1900 1901 1901
1902 1902 1903 Gents 1903
1904 1904 1905 1905
1906 1906 1907 Gents 1907
1908 1908 1909 1909
1910 1910 1911 1911
1912 Gents 1912 1913 Gents 1914 Ladies
1914 Gents 1915 Gents 1915 Ladies 1921 Ladies
1922 Gents 1922 Ladies 1923 Gents 1923 Ladies
1924 Ladies 1924 Gents 1925 Ladies 1925 Gents
1926 Ladies 1926 Gents 1927 Ladies 1927 Gents
1928 Gents 1929 Gents 1930 Pair 1931 Gents
1931 Ladies 1932 Gents 1934 Ladies 1934 Gents
1935 Gents 1935 Ladies 1936 Gents 1936 Ladies
1937 Gents 1937 Ladies 1938 Ladies 1939 Gents
   
1939 Ladies Directors Badge    

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    
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