Leicester Racecourse History

The first evidence of racing in the vicinity of Leicester was at Abbey Meadow on Wednesday 23rd March 1603, the day before the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The Leicester Corporation Town Plate was the feature of these early meetings, an event which was abandoned towards the end of the 17th century, only to be re-established in 1720. Twenty years later meetings were transferred to St Mary’s Field, but the meeting was still held at Abbey Meadow in 1739 as indicated by the newspaper extract shown below. The Leicester Gold Cup, worth 100 sovereigns, was introduced in 1807 on Victoria Park racecourse, a course which was still being used after 1883 despite racing transferring to its current site at Oadby. Victoria Park enjoyed a grandstand with a balcony and two long seats underneath the balcony. After racing switched to Oadby, Victoria Park became the cricket ground and the grandstand was used as the cricket pavilion, while much later it operated as tea rooms. The opening meeting at Oadby was held on Tuesday 24th July 1883, causing Victoria Park to close their gates for the final time on Friday 7th September 1883. Two memorable events took place at Leicester in the 20th century; on Thursday 31st March 1921 a young apprentice called Gordon Richards rode his first winner on Gay Lord; on Friday 20th January 1931 Golden Miller won the lowly Gopsall Maiden Hurdle before going on to record numerous Gold Cup and Grand National successes. The principal race at the track is the King Richard III Stakes, a Listed race which was named in honour of the King in 2013, but was formerly known as the Leicestershire Stakes, with full results shown below. Currently the course hosts 11 National Hunt and 21 flat fixtures annually.
Monday 18th September 1727
Leicester £30 Plate for horses carrying 12 stone

1. Snip, bay horse owned by Mr Musters
2. Single Peeper, brown gelding owned by Mr Cole
3. Long John, bay horse owned by Mr Stevenson

Leicester 1901ds.JPG (44533 bytes)
Leicester continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Loughborough closed its gates for the final time in 1851.

The Leicestershire university town of Loughborough first held racing in 1734 at Nether Meadow. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Loughborough on Friday 13th August 1734, when the principal race was won by Mr Williamson’s Smallhopes. The course, situated between Loughborough and Stanford on Soar, continued to host racing until 1756. However, it is known that an alternative venue was used between the River Soar and Derby Road, when the Quorn and Donnington Hunt meetings were staged in the vicinity of the town. Although racing lapsed for a while, a meeting was held on Friday 5th April 1816. Yet another gap occurred until Mr Henry Dougherty, landlord of the Cross Keys Inn, tried a further revival on Monday 17th November 1851 on a course in the Big Meadow. However, amongst the list of galloways, half-breds and ponies was the Hunters Stakes for thoroughbreds which went to Mr Hardy’s Kenilworth, defeating Tim Bobbin and Rifleman. Whilst races did continue to be held in the town, the frequency of thoroughbred races diminished.

Friday 13th August 1734
Loughborough 25 Guineas Purse
1. Smallhopes owned by Mr Williamson
2. Gentleman owned by The Duke of Ancaster
3. Brisk owned by Sir M Newton
4. Brocklesby owned by Mr Holbrook

Leicester 1929.JPG (7928 bytes) Leicester 1931.JPG (8266 bytes)
I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1835 map shown below. Note the positions of the Abbey Meadows racecourse (1603), the St Mary's Field racecourse (1720) and the Victoria Park racecourse (1883). The present day racecourse at Oadby is off the map to the south east of Victoria Park.
1924 Ladies 1925 Ladies 1928 Ladies 1929 Ladies 1940 Ladies

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

1938 Matched Trio 1939 Matched Pair

The principal race is the King Richard III Stakes, a Listed race contested each April over 7 furlongs and 9 yards. In 1978 it was known as the Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes when won by the Paul Cole trained Hillandale, but it was renamed the Leicestershire Stakes in 1983 when Valiyar, trained by Henry Cecil, was triumphant. Although it enjoyed Listed status in the 1980s, by 1999 it was promoted to Group 3 status when Warningford, trained by James Fanshawe, was victorious on 3 occasions. However, by 2004 it had reverted back to Listed status when Tout Seul won for Fulke Johnson Houghton. When it was confirmed that the skeleton discovered in a Leicester car park was King Richard III in 2013 the race was renamed in his honour.
1978 The Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes was won by Hillandale, trained by Paul Cole and ridden by Geoff Baxter
1979 The Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes was won by Roland Gardens, trained by Duncan Sasse and ridden by Greville Starkey
1980 The Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes was won by Foveros, trained by Clive Brittain and ridden by Kipper Lynch
1981 The Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes was won by Belmont Bay, trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by John Reid

1954-55 Member 1955-56 Member 1958-59 Member 1962-63 Member 1963-64 Member

1982 The Philip Cornes Trophy Stakes was won by Noalto, trained by Frankie Durr and ridden by Paul Cook
1983 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Valiyar, trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by Nigel Day
1984 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Harlow, trained by Sir Mark Prescott and ridden by George Duffield
1985 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Neeyef, trained by Peter Walwyn and ridden by Joe Mercer
1986 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Bollin Knight, trained by Peter Easterby and ridden by Mark Birch

1947 Ladies 1949-50 Ladies 1953-54 Ladies 1956 Ladies 1957 Ladies

1987 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Flower Bowl, trained by John Dunlop and ridden by Billy Newnes
1988 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Sharp Reminder, trained by Ray Laing and ridden by Tyrone Williams
1989 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Beau Sher, trained by Ben Hanbury and ridden by Bruce Raymond
1990 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Monsagem, trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by Steve Cauthen
1991 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Rami, trained by Peter Walwyn and ridden by Ray Cochrane

1964-65 Member 1966-67 Gents 1966-67 Ladies 1969 Member 1971 Ladies

1992 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Shalford, trained by Richard Hannon Snr and ridden by Brian Rouse
1993 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Swing Low, trained by Richard Hannon Snr and ridden by Brian Rouse
1994 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Pollen Count, trained by John Gosden and ridden by John Carroll
1995 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Young Ern, trained by Simon Dow and ridden by Richard Quinn
1996 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Young Ern, trained by Simon Dow and ridden by Brent Thomson

1960 Ladies 1961-62 Ladies 1965-66 Ladies 1970 Ladies 1987 Ladies

1997 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Wizard King, trained by Sir Mark Prescott and ridden by George Duffield
1998 The Leicestershire Stakes did not take place.
1999 The Leicestershire Stakes (Group 3) was won by Warningford, trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Ray Cochrane
2000 The Leicestershire Stakes (Group 3) was run at Doncaster and won by Sugarfoot, trained by Nigel Tinkler and ridden by Ray Cochrane
2001 The Leicestershire Stakes (Group 3) was run at Newmarket and was won by Warningford, trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Kieren Fallon

1972 Ladies 1973 Gents 1974 Gents 1977 Gents 1978 Gents

2002 The Leicestershire Stakes (Group 3) was won by Warningford, trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Oscar Urbina
2003 The Leicestershire Stakes (Group 3) was won by Tillerman, trained by Amanda Perrett and ridden by Richard Hughes
2004 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Tout Seul, trained by Fulke Johnson Houghton and ridden by Stephen Carson
2005 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Le Vie dei Colori, trained by Luca Cumani and ridden by Darryll Holland
2006 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Etlaala, trained by Barry Hills and ridden by Richard Hills

1979 Member 1980 Member 1986 Member 1987 Member 1988 Member

2007 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by New Seeker, trained by Paul Cole and ridden by Ted Durcan
2008 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Captain Marvellous, trained by Barry Hills and ridden by Michael Hills
2009 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Asset, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Ted Durcan
2010 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Spirit of Sharjah, trained by Julia Feilden and ridden by Frankie Dettori
2011 The Leicestershire Stakes (Listed) was won by Flambeau, trained by Henry Candy and ridden by Dane O’Neill

Leicester 2006pq.JPG (40786 bytes)
1989 Member 2006 Private Member 2007 Private Member 2009 Private Member 2010 Private Member

2012 The Leicestershire Stakes was abandoned due to a waterlogged course
2013 The King Richard III Stakes (Listed) was won by Producer, trained by Richard Hannon Snr and ridden by Richard Hughes
2014 The King Richard III Stakes (Listed) was won by Eton Forever, trained by Roger Varian and ridden by Andrea Atzeni
2015 The King Richard III Stakes (Listed) was won by Coulsty, trained by Richard Hannon Jnr and ridden by Richard Hughes
2016 The King Richard III Stakes (Listed) was won by Home of the Brave, trained by Hugo Palmer and ridden by William Buick

       
2013 Private Member        

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

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