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Earliest meeting: Thursday 14th March 1861
Final meeting: Friday 22nd March 1878
The Hertfordshire market town of Hitchin was first mentioned in the 7th century when known as a place where the Hicce people gathered, although in the Domesday Book the town is known as a Royal Manor. The town held its own races in the latter part of the 1800s, with meetings organised by the Hertfordshire Hunt. The inaugural card was held on Thursday 14th March 1861 at Tennis Court Farm in the nearby village of Buntingford. The course completed a figure of eight, and contained obstacles of a sufficiently imposing nature, including a wide brook and formidable water jump. The feature race, the United Hunt Stakes, was won by Mr Hunt’s The Pilot. Meetings were popular and well supported, but were nomadic, and the next year they were staged near Stevenage on Thursday 6th March 1862 when the United Hunt Stakes went to Mr H Smyth’s Gibraltar. In 1863 the meeting was held at Pirton, and in 1864 at Hitchin on the Letchworth road. Meetings continued under rules for a further 14 years until a final card was staged on Friday 22nd March 1878. Even after this date meetings were organised well into the start of the 20th century, but were by then popular point-to-point meetings.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Dacre, Lord Royston, Earl of Strathmore
Principal Races United Hunt Steeplechase, Hertfordshire Open Steeplechase

Thursday 14th March 1861
Hunters’ Stakes over 4 miles
1. Flying Buck, brown gelding owned by Mr Hunt
2. Miss Kensworth, brown mare owned by Mr H Cox
3. Inkerman, black gelding owned by Mr J Smyth

The final meeting took place on Friday 22nd March 1878.

Course today Initially at Tennis Court Farm in Buntingford, but then Pirton, Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin.
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 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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