LAMBOURN RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 28th March 1690
Final meeting: Tuesday 2nd July 1878
The first recorded racing in the Berkshire village of Lambourn was in 1690 when a two day meeting took place during Easter week on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th March 1690, the programme consisting of a £10 Plate and a £20 Selling Plate. Whilst it is likely that meetings were a regular occurrence, the next occasion when results were reported in Baily’s Racing Register was from the meeting held on Friday 14th May 1734 with the 30 Guineas Prize landed by Mr Cole’s Foxhunter. The racecourse was located at the Rubbing House, close to Weathercock Hill, to the east of Ashdown House and the west of Seven Barrows. Racing was well supported by the great and good of racing throughout its near two centuries of staging meetings. On Monday 26th April 1757 the Earl of Podmore’s Prim won the £50 Purse for 5 year olds, while on Tuesday 12th August 1794 Lord Craven’s Plate went to Serpent owned by Sir John Lade. Today Lambourn remains home to over 30 prominent racing stables, and its famous gallops continue to prepare Derby, Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle winners, but maybe the location of the town and challenging transport links prevented it from further developing its racecourse.The final meeting took place on Tuesday 2nd July 1878.

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

Friday 14th May 1734

Lambourn 30 Guineas Prize
1. Foxhunter owned by Mr Cole
2. Jigg owned by Mr Bradley
3. Whitestockings owned by Mr Major

The Racing Calendar of 1751 was undertaken by Reginald Heber following the death of John Cheney who had initiated the project many years earlier. He records that Lambourn held a two-day meeting in April 1751 with race details shown below.

Local Patrons

Earl of Portmore, Lord Craven, Sir Charles Goring, Sir John Lade, Sir G O Paul

Principal Races Lord Craven Plate, Lambourn Plate

Sunday 25th and Monday 26th April 1751

Lambourn 4 & 5 year old Purse over 4 miles
1. Cornwall owned by Sir John Phillips
2. Spinner owned by Mr Stevens
3. Golden Locks owned by Mr Ashley

Lambourn 5 year old £50 Purse over 4 miles
1. Prim owned by The Earl of Portmore
2. Gustavus owned by Mr Martindale
3. Tom Thumb owned by Sir Charles Goring

Tuesday 16th April 1782

Lambourn Plate over 4 miles
1. Warwick owned by Mr Boyes
2. Sophia owned by Sir G O Paul

Tuesday 12th to Wednesday 13th August 1794


Lambourn Plate over 2 miles
1. General owned by Mr Turner
2. Top-Gallant owned by Mr Dundas
3. Owen Tudor owned Mr E Dilly

John Cary (1754-1835) was an English cartographer who published his atlas, The New and Correct English Atlas, in 1787. In 1794 he was commissioned by the Postmaster General to survey all English roads. The map shown below is an extract from his 1794 work.

The final meeting took place on 2nd July 1878
Course today

I am grateful to John Hodges for the map of Upper Lambourn shown below. It indicates the position of the racecourse and how the land is used today.
The red area is Seven Barrows, where Nicky Henderson trains.
The blue area is Ashdown House/ Park, home of Pete Townshend.
The green area is the approximate area of the racecourse, based on the marked location of a Rubbing House, although others have claimed that the course was either on Weathercock Hill or near Ashdown House.

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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