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Earliest meeting: April 1791
Final meeting: Friday 4th May 1928
The earliest date on which racing took place in the Hampshire district of Hambledon was in 1791 at Soberton Downs when organised by Hambledon Foxhound Committee. It was not until 1824 that the Sporting Magazine and Racing Calendar included results from those meetings. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s the Hambledon Hunt meetings continued at a range of courses, including Waterloo, Droxford and Bushey Downs, but in 1874 it moved to Earl Poulett’s course at Grenville Hall. The inaugural meeting was held on Thursday 23rd April 1874 and the opening Farmer’s Cup was won by Octoroom for the second consecutive year. This became their permanent home, with racing continuing until Thursday 7th May 1914 when the War caused the meetings to cease. After the First World War had ended racing returned to Grenville Hall racecourse, with the first post War meeting taking place on Friday 30th April 1920. The final meeting was held on Friday 4th May 1928.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Earl Poulett, Captain Berkeley; Mr C.Shard

Principal Races Soberton Stakes, Hambledon Hunt Stakes, Corhampton Cup

Hambledon Trial Stakes ( 1 ¼ miles)
1. Gossoon owned by Mr H Smith
2. Unnamed filly by Waterloo owned by Mr C.Shard
3. Swindon owned by Captain Berkeley

Hambledon Farmer’s Cup (2 miles)
1. Buccaneer owned by Mr Legg
2. Ploughboy owned by Mr Saint

Thursday 23rd April 1874
Hambledon Hunt Stakes over 2 miles
1. Fracas, 4 year old owned by Mr Greenwood
2. Melaine, 4 year old owned by Mr Hasler
3. Toy, 5 year old owned by Mr Higgins
Betting: 6/4 Miss Williams, 4/1 Melaine, 5/1 Fracas, 8/1 Toy, 10/1 Bar

Throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s the meetings continued but a range of courses were used, although Soberton Downs continued to be the most popular, being used from 1791-1855 and 1857-1860. Other courses used were Wickham (1856 only) to the South West of Hambledon, Waterloo in 1861 (Waterlooville), Droxford (from 1862) and Bushey Downs (up to 1873) to the North West and Grenville Hall. Once Hambledon Hunt Committee moved the races to Grenville Hall in 1874 this became their permanent home, and racing continued until Thursday 7th May 1914 when the War caused the meetings to cease.

The final Flat race meeting took place on 5th May 1829. After the First World War had ended racing returned to Grenville Hall racecourse, with the first post War meeting taking place on Friday 30th April 1920. The final meeting took place on Friday 4th May 1928.
Course today

Initially on Soberton Downs, and then at a range of venues including Wickham, Waterloo, Droxford and Bushey Downs before resting In the grounds of Grenville Hall owned by Lord Poulett. Today there is little visible evidence of where the racecourse once stood, with the ground being ploughed and used as farm land, but the remains of the old grandstand can still be seen as a reminder to glorious race days that once graced the ground. The course was used for point to point races until Saturday 15th March 1952

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:-

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

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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