Hamilton Park Racecourse History

The first evidence of racing in the vicinity of Hamilton Park was on Tuesday 6th August 1782, just outside the town at Chatelherault, when a purse of 50 guineas, contested over 4 mile heats, saw the Duke of Hamilton's Disguise defeat Stanton after just two heats. Full results of this inaugural 2 day meeting are shown below. Within 3 years a three day meeting was staged, although some races were restricted to horses trained north of the border, and it came as no surprise that the Duke of Hamilton was successful. Racing lapsed after the 1793 meeting when only three runners were present, although by 1811 the Royal Caledonian Hunt Club organized a magnificent seven day meeting. In 1887 Sir John Astley, who made his fortune from the whisky trade, began preparing a new course at Hamilton and the inaugural meeting took place on Thursday 12th July 1888 at a course close to Hamilton Palace to the north east of the town. Full results and newspaper extracts for the first meeting on the new course are shown below. Racing ceased yet again in 1907, predominantly because of disputes over betting, and it was left to the racing legend Sir Loftus Bates to mastermind the relaunch after the war. The first two day meeting on the present day course on Bothwell Road was held on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th July 1926 when Sir Loftus was rewarded with a massive crowd. Full details of the opening day on the present day course are shown below. The venue has witnessed a number of firsts; on Friday 18th July 1947 it hosted the first evening meeting, while on Saturday 8th May 1971 it staged the first morning meeting. However, it was in 1973 that the future of racing at Hamilton was made secure when the Hamilton Park Trust was formed. Currently the course hosts 18 fixtures annually.

Tuesday 6th August 1782
The Hamilton 50 Guineas all age Plate over 4 mile heats

1. Disguise, 5 year old owned by the Duke of Hamilton
2. Stanton, aged horse owned by Mr Sousby
3. Unnamed 4 year old bay colt owned by Lord Surrey
4. Blameless, 5 year old owned by Mr Thomson

Wednesday 7th August 1782
Hamilton 50 Guineas Ladies Purse over 4 mile heats
1. Wickham, 6 year old owned by the Duke of Hamilton
2. Unnamed 6 year old grey mare owned by Lord Surrey

Hamilton Park 1894.JPG (10949 bytes)
Although Hamilton remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Lanark closed its gates for the final time in 1977.

There is every indication that a race meeting of some kind took place in Lanark as early as 1170, with a prize of a Silver Bell instituted by King William the Lion of Scotland. Records from 1661 imply that the Silver Bell was contested on the third Tuesday in May. The earliest record of a Silver Bell actually being contested was on Thursday 4th June 1719, although it is uncertain whether it actually took place in Lanark. The Racing Calendar first included results from the two day meeting on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th September 1785. That meeting opened with a 50 Guineas Purse which saw the Duke of Hamilton’s Milfield walk over, while the next day a similar Purse was won by the Duke’s Disguise beating Mr Thompson’s Sobersides. Meetings continued at irregular intervals throughout the 19th century, although the management was not as tight and effective as at other Scottish courses. In 1870 the racing authorities introduced a rule stating no races were to be run for a prize of less than £50, but in 1873 Lanark breached this rule. The first recorded meeting on the New course, described as an oval course of some 1 mile 140 yards with a gradual rise to the finish, about a mile and a half from Lanark, was in 1909. However, the course proved to be extremely treacherous when it rained. In common with almost all courses racing ceased between 1914 and 1919, and again in 1939 before returning for a popular meeting on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th September 1945. In 1967, feeling confident about the future, a new stable block was built, but in the end this proved to be part of its undoing. Crowds decreased and the financial burden of paying for the stable block became too much. The final meeting took place on Tuesday 18th October 1977, after which the Levy Board declined to support the course with any further money.

Wednesday 27th September 1899
Lanark Silver Bell Handicap over 1 ½ miles
1. Tyna owned by Mr W Sanderson
2. Horizon owned by Mr Alan Johnstone
3. Dowf owned by the Duke of Montrose

Hamilton 1907re.JPG (15745 bytes)
I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1856 map shown below.
Hamilton 1905L.JPG (7044 bytes)
1902 Ladies 1904 Ladies 1905 Ladies 1906 Ladies 1907 Ladies
After a considerable lapse a two day meeting was held on a new course on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th July 1888. Details of that early meeting are shown below courtesy of the Sporting Life (Saturday 14th July 1888) and the British Library Online.
1972 Member 1975 Member 1977 Member 1978 Member 1979 Member
The inaugural meeting on the present day course was staged on Friday 16th July 1926, with results shown below courtesy of The Scotsman.

Cambusnethan Handicap Plate over 1 mile 50 yards
1. Impress (9/2) owned by Sir L Green and ridden by J Thwaites
2. Huntersdale (5/2) owned by Mrs S Joel and ridden by H Wragg
3. Fair Dinkum (8/1) owned by Mr A Smith and ridden by A Glasgow
Bothwell Two-Year-Old Selling Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Fritters (9/4) owned by Mr H Johnstone and ridden by J Thwaites
2. Siroon (7/4) owned by Mr G M Menzies and ridden by C Ray
3. Royal Bride (4/1) owned by Captain A Wilson and ridden by Fred Winter
Wishaw Selling Handicap Plate over 1 mile 5 furlongs
1. Weathertide (10/1) owned by Mr Andrews and ridden by H Wagstaffe
2. Fulfil (2/1) owned by Mr H Morris and ridden by C Ray
3. Polemberg (6/4) owned by Lord Lonsdale and ridden by T Burns
Glasgow Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Bell Rock (6/1) owned by Sir R W Jardine and ridden by Harry Wragg
2. Trustful (5/2) owned by Sir E Tate and ridden by C Parker
3. Friary Court (2/1) owned by Lord Allendale and ridden by E Winter
Motherwell Handicap Plate over 6 furlongs
1. Little Red Rat (100/8) owned by Mr Crawford and ridden by J Taylor
2. Martenax (9/4) owned by Sir E Tate and ridden by T Burns
3. Sky Pilot (7/1) owned by Sir R Jardine and ridden by R James
Larkhall Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Aryan (evens) owned by Mrs A Bendir and ridden by J Doyle
2. Leeds Rock (7/4) owned by Mr G M Menzies and ridden by C Ray
3. Fabulist (6/1) owned by Mr Macdonald and ridden by R James

1980 Member 1982 Member 1984 Member 1986 Shared Membership 1989 Member

The rare 1902 handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

1998 Member 1999 Member 2000 Member 2001 Gents 2001 Ladies

The principal race is the Glasgow Stakes, a Listed race restricted to 3 year olds over a mile 3 furlongs and 16 yards which is staged in July. Formerly run at York, its inaugural running at Hamilton Park was in 2006 when won by the Sir Michael Stoute trained Tam Lin ridden by Robert Winston. Originally restricted to colts and run in May, it was used as a Derby trial; although only Commander in Chief in 1993 has gone on to win the Epsom Derby. In 2011 it was opened to fillies as well as colts when won by Hunter’s Light trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Paul Hanagan.
2006 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Tam Lin (8/11 fav), owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Robert Winston 4 ran
2007 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Boscobel (6/4 fav), owned by Godolphin, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning 4 ran
2008 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Captain Webb (11/8 fav), owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Greg Fairley 8 ran

2002 Gents 2002 Ladies 2003 Gents 2003 Ladies 2004 Member

2009 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Parthenon (5/2), owned by Godolphin,  trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Greg Fairley 6 ran
2010 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Corsica (11/2), owned by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning 4 ran
2011 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Hunter’s Light (2/1), owned by Godolphin, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Phillip Makin 6 ran
2012 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Sparkling Portrait (11/8 fav), owned by Mike Browne, trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Paul Hanagan 6 ran

2005 Member 2006 Member 2007 Member 2008 Member 2009 Member

2013 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Maputo (3/10 fav), owned by Bloomfields, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning 5 ran
2014 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Postponed(4/5 fav), owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, trained by Luca Cumani and ridden by Andrea Atzeni 6 ran
2015 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Medrano (9/4 fav), owned by P Onslow, trained by David Brown and ridden by Fergal Lynch 10 ran
2016 The Glasgow Stakes was won by Ventura Storm (9/4 fav), owned by Middleham Park Racing, trained by Richard Hannon Jnr and ridden by Sean Levey 7 ran

2011 Member 2012 Member 2013 Member 2014 Member 2016 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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