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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 5th June 1753
Final meeting: Monday 16th June 1856
The Bedfordshire market town and civil parish of Dunstable once had a racecourse on Dunstable Downs which had at least two distinct periods of racing. The first record of racing taking place in the town was in 1753 when a two day meeting was held on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th June. The meeting was dominated by the Earl of March who captured the prize on Tuesday with Wanton and on Wednesday with Blossom. A two day meeting was held the next year on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th June, but the meeting disappointed the crowd when Jason walked over on the final day. The second period of racing began in April 1853 when it was reported that Lord Trentham’s black gelding beat Captain Vernon’s bay gelding over 4 miles, each carrying 9 stone for a prize of £50. Meetings continued for 3 more years until a final card was staged on Monday 16th June 1856.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Hamilton, Earl of March, Sir Charles Sedley, Captain Vernon
Principal Races Dunstable Cup, Dunstable Sweepstake

5th June 1753

Dunstable £50 Weight for Age
1. Wanton, bay horse owned by the Earl of March
2. Regulus, bay horse owned by Mr Curzon
3. Plow-boy, bay horse owned by Mr Buckland

6th June 1753

Dunstable £50 Purse
1. Blossom, grey horse owned by the Earl of March
2. Skeleton, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Cooper

Tuesday 25th - Wednesday 26th June 1754

Tuesday 25th June 1754 Dunstable Fifty Pounds Give and Take
1. Figure owned by the Duke of Hamilton
2. Lady Augusta owned by Sir Charles Sedley
3. Fire owned by Captain Vernon
4. Smiling Ball owned by Mr Stokes
5. Lady Thigh owned by Mr Brooks

Wednesday 26th June 1754 Dunstable Fifty Pounds Weight for Age
1. Jason owned by Mr Curzons walked over

5th June 1853

5th June 1853 Fifty Pound Stakes over 4 miles
1. Wanton owned by the Earl of March
2. Regulus owned by Mr Curzon
3. Plow-Boy owned by Mr Buckland
4. True Blue owned by Mr Adams

Dunstable £50 Match over 4 miles
1. Blossom owned by the Earl of March
2. Skeleton owned by Mr Cooper

The final meeting took place on Monday 16th June 1856.
Course today On Dunstable Downs.
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

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