Exeter Racecourse History

The first evidence of racing in the vicinity of Exeter was in 1650 during the reign of King Charles II, but it was to be a further 88 years before a form of racing was staged at Haldon in 1738. However, it is generally accepted that the inaugural two day meeting took place on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th July 1769, opening with a Weight for Age Handicap which was won by Mr Parker’s Feather colt, while the two mile Sweepstake went to Mr Orchard’s Minor filly. Sir Lawrence Palk became the owner of the racecourse and associated land in 1823 and later took the title of Lord Haldon. Lord Palmerston, twice Prime Minister and racing fanatic, won both the Silver Tureen and the Devonshire Stakes at the track in 1826. Devon and Exeter offered a mixed card, including flat racing, a 4 furlong sprint and a one mile three furlong hurdle race in 1842. The Haldon Race Club was formed in 1898 and organised a National Hunt meeting on the present day course on Wednesday 21st September 1898. Although racing ceased during both World Wars, meetings were staged at the end of the hostilities and by Friday 3rd October 1969 Devon and Exeter was celebrating its bi-centenary. The prinicipal race is the Group 2 Haldon Gold Cup which was won by the David Nicholson trained Very Promising in 1987. Currently the course hosts 17 fixtures annually.
Tuesday 11th July 1769
Exeter 50 Guineas Weight for Age Handicap

1. Unnamed 4 year old bay colt by feather, owned by Mr Parker 1 1
2. Penelope, 5 year old chestnut mare owned by Mr John Parker 2 2
3. Pharo, aged bay horse owned by Sir Chris Treise
4. Harlequin, 5 year old bay gelding owned by Mr Hewett

Exeter continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Tiverton closed its gates for the final time in 1874.

The Devon town of Tiverton first staged a race meeting in 1815 on a course situated in a field about a mile from Tiverton on the Bampton road. Two day meetings were generally held on the final Thursday and Friday of August to coincide with the local Blundell Celebration which drew many vistors to the town, and the event usually concluded with a Race Ball to generate funds for the next year. In 1824 a new theatre was opened at the same time as the two day meeting on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th August when the Silver Cup, donated by the tradesmen of the town, was won by Mr Crapp’s Viscount at the expense of Enniskillen and Grimace. In 1835 Lord Palmerston, a keen supporter of racing, became MP for the borough and kept a large stud of race-horses nearby, trained by John Day of Danebury. However, after his death on 18th October 1865 the races began to decline, his successor, the Hon. George Denman, took no interest in sporting matters, although he was asked to act as Judge at Tiverton on one occasion. The final meeting took place on Thursday 10th September 1874, after which the equipment from the course, paddock, and grandstand, including saddling tack and starting- bell, were sold by auction on the 23rd May 1885 in the yard of the Boar's Head Inn.

Saturday 28th August 1824
Yeomanry Silver Cup twice round
1. Isabella, bay mare owned by Mr Rossiter
2. Black Jack, grey gelding owned by Mr Downey
3. Hazard, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Stevens

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1809 map shown below.

The course has a long history of staging Gold Cup races. The forerunner was a Plate donated by Lord Viscount Courtenay.
In 1804 Lord Courtenay’s Plate, over 2 miles, was won by Runaway, owned by Colonel Andrew
In 1805 Lord Viscount Courtenay’s Plate over 4 miles was won by Little Peggy, owned by Mr Herbert
In 1806 Lord Courtenay sponsored a 2 mile £50 race which was won by Optician, owned by Lord F Bentinck
In 1807 the Gold Cup over 4 miles, donated by Lord Courtenay, was won by Bagatelle, a 6 year old owned by Lord Charles Somerset.
In 1808 the Gold Cup over 4 miles, donated by Lord Courtenay, was won by Witchcraft, an aged horse owned by Mr Martin.

1979 Member 1980 Member 1981 Member 1982 Member 1983 Member

1987 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Very Promising, trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Richard Dunwoody
1988 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Barnbrook Again, trained by David Elsworth and ridden by Simon Sherwood
1989 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Panto Prince, trained by Chris Popham and ridden by Brendan Powell
1990 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Sabin du Loir, trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by Peter Scudamore
1991 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Sabin du Loir, trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by Peter Scudamore

1984 Member 1985 Member 1986 Member 1987 Member 1988 Member

1992 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Waterloo Boy, trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Richard Dunwoody
1993 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Travado, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Jamie Osborne
1994 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Travado, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Jamie Osborne
1995 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Travado, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Jamie Osborne
1996 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Absalom’s Lady, trained by Gay Kelleway and ridden by David Bridgwater

1989 Member 1990 Member 1991 Member 1992 Member 1993 Member

1997 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Viking Flagship, trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Richard Johnson
1998 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Lake Kariba, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Joe Tizzard
1999 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Flagship Uberalles, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Joe Tizzard
2000 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Bellator, trained by Venetia Williams and ridden by Norman Williamson
2001 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Knight and ridden by Jim Culloty

1994 Member 1995 Member 1996 Member 1997 Member 1998 Member

2002 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Edredon Bleu, trained by Henrietta Knight and ridden by Jim Culloty
2003 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Edredon Bleu, trained by Henrietta Knight and ridden by Jim Culloty
2004 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Azertyuiop, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh
2005 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Monkerhostin, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson
2006 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Impek, trained by Henrietta Knight and ridden by Tony McCoy

1999 Member 2000 Member 2001 Member 2002 Member 2003 Member

2007 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Pablo du Charmil, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore
2008 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Ashley Brook, trained by Kevin Bishop and ridden by Richard Johnson
2009 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Planet of Sound, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson
2010 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Tchico Polos, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh
2011 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Medermit, trained by Alan King and ridden by Robert Thornton

2004 Member 2005 Member 2006 Member 2007 Member 2008 Member

2012 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Joe Tizzard
2013 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Somersby, trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Dominic Elsworth
2014 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by God’s Own, trained by Tom George and ridden by Paddy Brennan
2015 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Vibrato Valta, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
2016 The Haldon Gold Cup, (Group 2 over 2 miles 1 furlong) was won by Sir Valentino, trained by Tom George and ridden by Adrian Heskin

2009 Member 2010 Member 2011 Member 2012-13 Member 2013-14 Member

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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