DUMFRIES RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: 1662
Final meeting: Wednesday 13th October 1847
Dumfries is a Scottish market town and former royal burgh in the Dumfries and Galloway region. Racing has taken place in the area since 1662 when farmers decided to race their cart horses against each other to provide entertainment. It was immediately accepted by the good folks of Dumfries, for just two years later a cup was introduced involving superior quality horses. Meetings were initially billed as Dumfries, but later the races were organised by the Caledonian Hunt Club and after 1853 by the Dumfriesshire Hunt Committee. Whilst detailed records of early Dumfries races are scarce, it is known that horses raced for the Dumfries Bell before 1662, and that in that year it was decided that any horse winning it on 3 occasions would keep the Bell. Just two years later in 1664 the Dumfries Silver Cup was introduced. A number of Scottish meets were organised by the Caledonian Hunt Club, organising Dumfries Races in 1792, again in 1794 and 1796 and then frequently up to their final meeting in 1844. By 1815 the meeting was at the height of its popularity, extending to 5 days from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th October. Sir Alexander Don won the 2 mile Dumfries Handicap with his Orville colt, while the prestigious Dumfries 50 Guineas Purse saw The Marquis of Queensberry’s King David just touched off by Mr Hutchison’s gelding. Up to 1844 the course was a one mile round course which was flat and most suitable for racing, but a new course was used for the last 3 years. The final meeting took place on Wednesday 13th October 1847, although just 6 years later the Dumfriesshire Hunt Group held their opening meeting at Leafields.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Marquis of Queensberry, Sir William Maxwell, Sir Alexander Don, Sir David Blair, Duke of Buccleugh, Sir W Maxwell. Sir J H Maxwell

Principal Races Dumfries Gold Cup, Dumfries Handicap, County Members Plate

Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th October 1815

Dumfries Purse over 2 miles
1. Unnamed gelding owned by Mr Hutchison
2. King David owned by the Marquis of Queensberry
3. Unnamed filly by Remembrancer owned by Mr Boast

Dumfries Handicap over a mile
1. Unnamed Colt by Orville owned by Sir Alexander Don
2. Irthing Lass owned by Mr Bell
3. Carrick owned by Sir David Blair

Thursday 21st October to Friday 22nd October 1824

Dumfries County Members Plate over 2 miles
1. Springkell owned by Sir J H Maxwell walked over

Dumfries 50 pound Plate over a mile and a furlong
1. Gay Momus owned by Mr Ferguson
2. La Grisette owned by Mr Alexander
3. Springkell owned by Sir J H Maxwell

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that racing took place at Dumfries, some 71 miles from Edinburgh, in 1788 in what was then described as their Southern meeting. Whyte records the1839 races as:-
Dumfries Gold Cup over 2 miles;
Southern Meeting Purse over a mile and a half;
Duke of Buccleugh Stakes over 2 miles;

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 13th October 1847
Course today A perfectly flat one mile round course.
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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