DUNBAR RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Saturday 28th July 1865
Final meeting: Thursday 22nd March 1906
The earliest record of a meeting held in the vicinity of the Scottish town of Dunbar, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, was in 1865 when the East Lothian and Berwickshire Yeomanry organised racing at Belhaven. The meeting was held on Saturday 28th July 1865 in a field near West Barns Sands when a large attendance witnessed a remarkable feat by Mr J Calder. He owned, trained and rode four winners that day. The Grand Stand was already well patronised, with carriages lining both sides of the course, by the time Mr Calder’s Marksman defeated Clauna and Weathervane in the Members’ Plate. In the Scurry Race which followed immediately afterwards his bay gelding Antiquary beat Projectile, while the Ladies Purse was claimed by Marksman. Much later in the afternoon the Grand Stand Plate, over a mile and a half, also went to Marksman. The meeting was successful and repeated the next six years, although there then followed a period of 16 years when no racing took place. However, it was revived in 1888 and once again proved to be well supported, inspiring the racing expert, Sir Loftus Bates, to discuss with the local land owner and trainer, Mr St Clair Cunningham, the possibility of establishing a regular National Hunt meeting at Dunbar. The first meeting at the new course took place on Tuesday 5th April 1898. The inspiration behind Dunbar racecourse was the owner of Hedderwick Hall, Mr St Clair Cunningham, and when he died in April 1904 the driving force and desire to keep the meeting going died with him, racing eventually coming to an end in 1906. Its closing card was held on Thursday 22nd March 1906, culminating in the final running of the Dunbar Handicap Chase.

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

Mr St Clair Cunningham, Sir Loftus Bates

Principal Races

Dunbar Handicap Chase, East of Scotland Chase, Tyningham Chase

Thursday 21st May 1903
Yeomanry Cup over 2 miles
1. Highland Laddie II, aged horse owned by Mr A M Calder
2. Castasegna, aged mare ridden by Sergeant Hardy
3. Maryfield Boy, aged horse owned by Mr T Calder

Course today Close to the A1 and Belhaven Bay.
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.
ORDER FORM
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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    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com