HEREFORD RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 27th August 1771
Final meeting: Sunday 16th December 2012
The Herefordshire county cathedral city of Hereford, on the River Wye, is 16 miles east of the border with Wales and 24 miles south west of Worcester. The earliest record of a Herefordshire Hunt meeting taking place in the vicinity of the city was on Tuesday 27th August 1771, and racing continued thereafter on a regular basis. In 1793 a disruptive, disapproving crowd brought down the horse Edwin, his owner vowing never to return to the course. It was almost fifty years before the first hurdle race was staged in 1840, but on Thursday 12th February 1846 the course hosted the Grand Annual Steeplechase which saw Brunette beat Crackaman.  Hereford reached new heights in 1857 when it hosted a Royal Plate for the only time in its history which was won by Fisherman, a remarkable horse which contested 35 races during its lifetime, winning 22 of them. In 1883 the final flat race meeting took place at the course, but National Hunt racing continued to operate successfully, although racing ceased for the majority of both World Wars. However, a meeting did take place on Easter Monday 25th March 1940 when the management proudly boasted 190 entries. Racing resumed in 1946 when a company was formed to take over the administration of the races from the Council. Although races were not always of the highest quality, they often made up for it in quantity, staging highly competitive races. Never was this truer than at one meeting in 1975 when so many runners were declared that races had to be divided into divisions which led to a 14 race programme. The course relied on a loyal crowd of supporters, although they famously did not issue annual Members badges until 2001. Attendances started to decline in the early part of the 21st century, although a new era dawned in 2008 when a joint membership was offered with Chepstow in an attempt to boost crowds. The lease was held by the Herefordshire Council Arena Racing Company and the course was closed in 2012, with a final meeting staged on Sunday 16th December 2012. However, after a four year spell without racing, racing returned in October 2016.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Baron Rothschild, Captain Barnett, Mr T Kinnersley
Principal Races Grand Annual Steeplechase, Herefordshire Stakes, Shobdon Cup

Thursday 12th February 1846
Grand Annual Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Brunette, brown mare owned by Mr Preston
2. Crackaman, aged horse owned by Mr H N Powell
3. Little Tommy, aged horse owned by Mr W Vevers
4. Hankey Pankey, aged horse owned by Mr T Westley

The very rare race ticket, shown above, allowed entry to Hereford Races in 1867. The Stewards at this time were His Grace the Duke of Hamilton, Rt Hon Lord Bateman, Colonel A Meyrick and Captain Machell. The main two day meeting was held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th October 1867, with the principal races being the Herefordshire Stakes on the first day and the Shobdon Cup on the second day.
Thursday 17th October 1867
HEREFORDSHIRE STAKES (100 sovs) over 1 ½ miles

1. MOOSE (5/2) owned by Mr Brayley and ridden by Clement
2. MOULSEY (100/30) owned by Lord Bateman and ridden by Grimshaw
3. NIDDERDALE (20/1) owned by Mr G Price and ridden by Peppler
4. PEARL DIVER (20/1) owned by Mr Brayley and ridden by Harrison
9 ran
Friday 18th October 1867
SHOBDON CUP (200 sovs) over 1 ¾ miles

1. NIDDERDALE (100/6) owned by Mr Parr and ridden by Peppler
2. ARABIA (8/1) owned by Mr Rice and ridden by Jeffery
3. DUET (20/1) owned by Mr Treen and ridden by J Clark
7 ran

Hereford 1868.JPG (10769 bytes)Hereford 1925.JPG (30432 bytes)Hereford official.JPG (25343 bytes)
The final meeting took place on Sunday 16th December 2012 (But reopened in October 2016)
Course today On the Roman Road on the outskirts of the city.
Hereford 2001.JPG (14780 bytes)Hereford 2001G.JPG (13987 bytes)Hereford 2002p.JPG (68658 bytes)
Hereford 2003.JPG (15641 bytes)Hereford 2004a.JPG (14451 bytes)Hereford 2005.JPG (13952 bytes)Hereford 2006m.JPG (36424 bytes)
Chepstow 20008pk.JPG (49412 bytes)Chepstow 2008RT.JPG (33141 bytes)
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

Hereford's penultimate days racing, before closing for 4 years, was on Wednesday 5th December 2012.
Weighing Room Dawson Suite, not exactly bursting at the seams with punters
Main public betting area:- Tattersalls Commentators Box
Richard Johnson rides favourite Return Spring Choc Thornton parades Midnight Appeal with justifiable confidence
Noel Fehily aboard Long Wave in the first Bet365 Novice Hurdlers in the first
Salden Licht prepares for his chasing debut A P McCoy on favourite Vulcanite in the Bet365 Novice Chase
Chasers take the final flight on the first circuit Betting market
The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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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