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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 16th December 1863
Final meeting: Friday 10th January 1868
The village and civil parish of Castle Donington currently lies in North West Leicestershire, but has a Derbyshire postcode and was, in the past, considered to be in Derbyshire. It once boasted a racecourse where racing was administered by the Donington Hunt Committee. The meetings began on Wednesday 16th December 1863 and continued for each of the next 5 years. The ground on Donington Park was admirably chosen by his Lordship, the Marquis of Hastings, as a fair specimen of ordinary hunting country and a crowd in excess of 10000 gathered from Nottingham, Loughborough and beyond to witness the spectacle. The inaugural meeting opened with the Trent Bank Stakes which was won by Miss Morgan for Mr W Lambert, beating Whitewash and Rocket. The Wellesley Stakes saw Kiss-me-Quick first passed the post with the Marquis’s Alice back in third, but the Marquis objected and received the race in the Stewards Room. The next year the two day meeting was staged on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd December 1864 when a Match started the days’ proceedings, with Lord Paget’s Tiny easily beaten by Mr F Wombwell’s Jump. The Willesley Stakes and the Farmers’ Cup were both won by Oscar for Mr Audinshaw, while the Danebury Stakes went to Mr C Clayton’s Diana. Racing continued successfully for a further four years until the final meeting on Friday 10th January 1868.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Marquis of Hastings, Earl of Harrington, Viscount Marsham
Principal Races Willesley Stakes, Danebury Stakes, Trent Bank Stakes

Wednesday 16th December 1863
Farmers’ Hunt Cup
1. Gipsy Jane, brown mare owned by Mr H Smith
2. Little Gipsy, brown mare owned by Mr Audinwood
3. Radical, grey horse owned by Mr Cowlishaw

The final meeting took place on Friday 10th January 1868.
Course today On Donington Park.
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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing 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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  Quantity Cost
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    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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