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Earliest meeting: Friday 9th February 1849
Final meeting: Tuesday 24th May 1864
The Nottinghamshire market town of Retford lies some 31 miles from Nottingham and 23 miles west of Lincoln. The River Idle runs through the town, as does the Chesterfield Canal, and the town got its name from the red clay which the River left behind and a ford crossing the River, hence Redford. Historically the town gained its first charter for a market during the reign of Henry III in 1246. The first recorded race meeting took place on Friday 9th February 1849 on a fair hunting course containing only one artificial fence, starting a mile from the town centre and finishing in West Retford. The opening 4 mile Handicap was won by Mr Walker’s Cadeby. Almost 15 years later a second meeting was held at East Retford organised by the East Retford Cavalry Group on Tuesday 24th May 1864. The principal race was the Cavalry Stakes which saw Elcot, owned by Mr Williamson, defeat Fanny and Miss Fidget.

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

Mr Maltby, Mr B Land

Principal Races Retford Open Handicap, Retford Selling Stakes

Friday 9th February 1849
East Retford Selling Stakes
1. Slashing Painter, bay gelding owned by Mr Maltby
2. Bribery, bay gelding owned by Mr B Land
3. Buttercup, bay mare owned by Mr Harrison

The only recorded meeting took place on Tuesday 24th May 1864.

Course today Starting a mile from the town centre and finishing west of the town.
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.
Download an order form
  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    
Postage & Packaging    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com