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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 26th March 1839
Final meeting: Tuesday 29th August 1882
The Hampshire village of Kingsclere, located near the beautiful area of Watership Down, is about 8 miles from Basingstoke and the same distance from the racing town of Newbury. It is steeped in history and in the 800s was owned by King Alfred. In 1839, despite being so close to Newbury, the village held its own race meeting on Tuesday 26th March 1839. Races continued regularly until a final meeting on Tuesday 31st July 1849 on a meadowland course holding 3000 people to the north west of the town. The meeting opened with a Sweepstake won by Mr Pixton and closed with the Saddle and Bridle going to Mr Dicks.  Although this was recorded as the last meeting to take place in Kingsclere, there was a very special meeting on Tuesday 29th August 1882 to celebrate the victories of Lord Stamford’s filly Geheimniss in the Oaks and Shotover in the Derby. The meeting was staged on Sydmonton Downs, courtesy of owner Mr Kingsmill, on the Kingsclere training course. The main races were the Shotover Stakes which was won by Mr G Armstrong’s Lily, and the Geheimniss Cup won by Bruce. So Kingsclere passed into history but was clearly missed by the unsigned poet who wrote the words that spelt out KINGSCLERE RACES:-
Kind gentlemen sportsmen, and neighbours around,
It’s more than a year since you filled the broad ground
Near the ‘Newbury Road’, where the ponies, not idle
Galloped so hard for the saddle and bridle.
Since then it’s a wish with the times to keep pace,
Come, make up your minds for another good race.
Let all the world know, that with purses not empty,
Every year at Kingsclere, there, sport shall be plenty.
Right about then ‘in quick time’-why Committee so dull?
Endeavours best use to prevent a great ‘mull’.
Remove the opinion, that’s now gaining ground,
About the subscriptions and nags being found;
Cheer up at once, and with bright smiling faces
Enter horses and stakes, and then look for places
So readily found at our last ‘Kingsclere Races’.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Lord Stamford, Mr Pixton, Mr Dicks

Principal Races Geheimniss Cup, Shotover Stakes, Kingsbury Stakes, Kingsbury Saddle & Bridle

Tuesday 29th August 1882
Geheimniss Cup over 1 mile and 6 flights
1. Bruce, aged horse owned by Mr A Booth
2. The Squire, aged horse owned by Mr Leonard Cundell
3. Voltigeur, aged horse owned by Mr B Twitchen

The only recorded meeting took place on Tuesday 29th August 1882.

Course today On a meadowland course to the north west of the town.
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

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 stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
Download an order form
  Quantity Cost
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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