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Earliest meeting: Thursday 31st July 1823
Final meeting: Tuesday 28th July 1863
The County Durham town of Hartlepool certainly held races prior to 1823 because The Sporting Magazine of that year recorded a meeting taking place on ‘the usual Thursday, Friday and Saturday’. However, exactly when the races first began is not known. The course was described as oval and flat, with a circumference of a mile and a straight run in of 2 ½ furlongs. A separate 6 furlong straight course was used for two-year-old sprints. There was no permanent Grandstand, although a temporary wooden structure was built for race days, while the jockeys changed and weighed-in in a cabin nearby. The attendance at the 1855 meeting was badly affected because the meeting coincided with Sunderland races, but by 1856 the two had collaborated and Sunderland races were held on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th September, whilst Hartlepool scheduled their meeting for 28th and 29th July. At the meeting on Monday 11th August 1862 both the Hartlepool Handicap and Innkeepers’ Plate were won by the gelding Charles Fox owned by Mr Chadwick. Attendance and prize money were both affected at this meeting, particularly as the Corporation withdrew their sponsorship, and the locals of West Hartlepool resented the fact that the meetings name did not reflect their contribution. Furthermore, local meetings at Houghton-le-Spring and Bishop Auckland were operating at the same time, depleting the crowd at Hartlepool. The writing was on the wall for the future of Hartlepool Racecourse, despite the 1863 meeting being called, ‘The Hartlepool and West Hartlepool Races’. The final meeting took place on Tuesday 28th July 1863.

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

John Osborne, Ned Gill, Captain Thomson, Captain Ling, Captain Parsell, William L’Anson, Mr Ruddock

Principal Races

Hartlepool Handicap, Hartlepool Tradesmen’s Stakes, Mariners Stakes, The Jackson Nursery Plate, The West Hartlepool Plate

Monday 3rd & Tuesday 4th September 1855

Hartlepool Corporation Two Year Old Sweepstakes
1. Launce owned by Mr Hind
2. Unnamed brother to The Anchorite owned by Mr R L’Anson

The Racing Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Saquenay owned by Mr R Hodgson

Hartlepool Hunters Stakes
1. Wild Huntsman owned by Mr I Skein
The winner was ridden by Mr Coxon

Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th July 1856

Hartlepool Handicap
1. Bolton owned by Mr Henderson
2. King of the Gipsies owned by Mr Winteringham

Hartlepool Corporation Plate
1. Norton owned by Mr Chilton
2. Logie o’ Buchan owned by Mr Henderson
Norton won after an initial dead heat.

September 1857

Hartlepool Handicap over 2 miles
1. Black Tiffany owned by Mr John Osborne and ridden by Challoner
2. Caliph owned by Mr Stebbings

Mariners Stakes
1. Phoenix owned by Mr Graham and ridden by Captain Thomson
This race was unusual, and possibly unique, in that riders had to be captains of sea vessels. The two other riders were Captain Ling and Captain Parsell.

16th & 17th August 1858

Hartlepool Handicap over 1 ¾ miles
1. Maid of Derwent owned by Mr Surtees and ridden by Jim Snowden
2. Ducrow owned by Mr Ned Gill
3. Spider owned by Mr John Osborne

Hartlepool Tradesmen’s Stakes
1. Ducrow owned by Mr Ned Gill
2. Princess of Orange owned by Mr John Osborne

Monday 11th August 1862

Hartlepool Handicap over 1 3/4 miles
1. Charles Fox owned by Mr Chadwick and ridden by George Noble
2. Desmond owned by Mr G Whittaker and ridden by John Osborne
3. Sweetbriar owned by Mr Brodie

Consolation Scramble
1. Fast Runner owned by Mr Ruddock
2. Miller O’Rye owned by Mr Foxton

Hartlepool Innkeepers’ Plate
1. Charles Fox owned by Mr Chadwick
2. Osborne owned by Mr Osborne
3. Fast Runner owned by Mr Ruddock

Tuesday 28th July 1863

Hartlepool Handicap over 1 ¾ miles
1. Captain Crow owned by Mr W Hudson and ridden by Osborne
2. Retento owned by Mr Fobert and ridden by J Marson
3. Prologue owned by Mr Copley and ridden by Stafford Thompson

The Hart Nursery Plate
1. Balderstone owned by Mr John Osborne and ridden by Whiteley
2. Leamington owned by William L’Anson and ridden by J Marson

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 28th July 1863.
Course today An oval one mile course with a straight run-in of 2 ½ furlongs.
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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Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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