HURST PARK RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 19th March 1890
Final meeting: Wednesday 10th October 1962

In 1887 Hampton Racecourse closed for the final time after the Jockey Club refused to renew its licence. It was not a closed Park course, like its near neighbours Sandown Park and Kempton Park, and was therefore more difficult to maintain. A group of local businessmen spotted an opportunity and formed the Hurst Park Club Syndicate Limited in 1889, with the sole intention of buying the old Hampton site and developing a closed course. This they did, but the problem was it was too small for Flat racing and only operated for a short time.  Not to be deterred, they purchased nearby meadowland and extended the course to ensure that the Jockey Club would issue a licence to host Flat meetings. The first meeting to take place on Hurst Park, the replacement for Hampton Court Racecourse, was on Wednesday 19th March 1890 for a National Hunt meeting and Wednesday 25th March 1891 for a Flat race meeting. The course was situated near to Hampton village on the Thames, approximately 12 miles from London, and was an oval course of 11 furlongs with a special 'Victoria Cup' course of 7 furlongs. By the turn of the century the course was hosting top class racing and attracting the best horses. In 1901 the Derby winner Volodyovski was beaten by the Duke of Portland’s William the Third. The principal race was the Victoria Cup, a fiercely competitive handicap which was first contested in 1901 when won by Sweet Dixie. Racing ceased from 1916 to 1918 for the First World War, and there was no racing from 1940 to 1945 when the course was used as a military camp for the Second World War. To recognise the significant part Winston Churchill had played in securing victory in the war, the Winston Churchill Stakes was first run in 1946 when won by Preciptic, owned by the Maharajah Gaekwar of Baroda. Winston Churchill visited the racecourse on a number of occasions, but his most exciting visit was in 1951 when his grey horse Colonist II won the Winston Churchill Stakes. The win was a very popular one and the course continued to be extremely well supported by the general public. However, the original venture was a business venture and the Company were keen to maximise their profit. They realised that the racecourse land was significantly more valuable as development land. Approval to build on the land was gained in 1961 leading to a final meeting on Wednesday 10th October 1962.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Derby, Mr T Cannon
Principal Races

The Victoria Cup (7 furlong race now transferred to Ascot)
Triumph Hurdle (now transferred to Cheltenham )

Saturday 29th April 1899

Hurst Park Spring Handicap over a mile and a half
1. Morningdew owned by Mr Houldsworth
2. St Fort owned by Mr E H Baldock
3. Innocence owned by Mr J A Miller

The Durham Regulation race over a mile
1. Alt Mart owned by Lord Derby
2. Melampus owned by Mr T Cannon
3. Eugene Stratton owned by Mr R Astley

Racing stopped between 1916 and 1918 for the First World War, and there was no racing from 1940 to 1945 as it was used as a military camp for the Second World War.

The course circa 1901. Note the wonderful grandstand!
Winston Churchill at Hurst Park watching Colonist II in 1951
The final meeting took place on 10th October 1962
Course today

An oval 11 furlong course near to Hampton village. Main stand is at Mansfield Town. A supermarket, primary school and gardens now stand on the racecourse grounds.

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

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

1890 1890 1890 1891
1891 1892 1892 1893
1893 1894 1895 1895
1896 1896 1897 1897
1898 1899 1899 1900
1900 1901 1901 1902
1903 1903 1904 1904
1905 1905 1906 1906
1907 1907 1908
1909 1910 1911 1911
1912 1914 1914 1915
1920 1921 1922 1922
1925 1925 1926 1927
1927 1928 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1932
1933 1934 1935 1936
1936 1937 1938 1938
1940 1939 1946
1946 1947 1947 1948
1948 1949 1949 1951
1950 1951 1952
1953 1954 1954 1955
1956 1957 1957 1958
1959 1960 1960
1961 1962 1962

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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