GLOUCESTER RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Friday 24th September 1734
Final meeting: Wednesday 4th October 1876
Baily’s Racing Register recorded a three day meeting taking place at the Gloucestershire county town of Gloucester, starting on Friday 24th September 1734. The course, an oblong of about a mile and a half around, with a straight run in of 2 furlongs, was laid out in a meadow near the River Severn. The meeting opened with a £50 Purse which went to White Stockings for Mr Major, beating Lord Portmore’s Mouse and Lord Weymouth’s Whittington. Later in the week the £30 Purse was won by the Duke of Ancaster’s Crab. Races continued to be staged on a regular basis and the two day meeting on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th September 1833 proved to be beneficial for Mr I Day. His colt Little Boy Blue was runner-up in the Gloucester Stakes before getting his head in front in the Berkeley Stakes over 2 miles, while his gelding Liston captured the Beaufort Stakes to crown a good meeting. Racing lapsed after the 1842 meeting and was not re-introduced until October 1861 when the Badminton Stakes went to Violet, while the Gloucestershire Handicap, over a mile, saw Mr T Bell’s Gleam beat Lord Coventry’s Flitch. The final meeting took place on Wednesday 4th October 1876.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Ancaster, Lord Portmore, Lord Weymouth, Sir A Hasilrigg, Captain Berkeley
Principal Races Gloucester Stakes, Berkeley Stakes, Welter Stakes, Beaufort Stakes

Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September 1734

Gloucester £50 Purse
1. Whitestockings owned by Mr Major
2. Mouse owned by Lord Portmore
3. Whittington owned by Lord Weymouth

Gloucester £30 Purse
1. Crab owned by The Duke of Ancaster
2. Ringtail owned by Sir A Hasilrigg
3. Dunkirk owned by Lord Portmore

Wednesday 18th to Thursday 19th September 1833

Gloucester Stakes over 2 miles
1. Harry owned by Mr Thornes
2. Little Boy Blue owned by Mr I Day
3. Changeling owned by Mr Peel

The Berkeley Stakes over 2 miles
1. Little Boy Blue owned by Mr I Day
2. Sinbad owned by Mr Crommelin

The Beaufort Stakes over a mile
1. Liston owned by Mr I Day
2. Trouville owned by Mr Thompson
3. Uncle Toby owned by Mr Peel

Tuesday 21st & Wednesday 22nd July 1835

The Gloucester Stakes over 2 miles
1. Paris owned by Captain Berkeley
2. Carnaby owned by Mr S Herbert

The Berkeley Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Gab owned by Mr I Day
2. Haldon owned by Mr Whalley
3. Worcester owned by Mr Thorne

The Welter Stakes over a mile
1. Challenger owned by Mr Hobson
2. Cyclops owned by Mr Ody
3. Changeling owned by Mr H Peel

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that Gloucester racecourse is situated in a meadow on the banks of the River Severn and records the 1839 races as two small Stakes races on just one day, having in previous years extended over 3 days.

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 4th October 1876
Course today

I am grateful to Evan Lewis for his comments on the course; The old "Gloucester racecourse" was located where the Maisemore point to point course is located now. The course description is very much like the current point - point course (but substitute "oval" for "oblong"). The report of the meeting said it was a massive crowd and that the course was superior to Cheltenham.

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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