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Llangollen Farm Steeplechase course was the brainchild of Mrs John Hay Whitney after her wealthy husband, John Whitney, purchased the 2200 acres that remained from a much bigger Farm in 1930 as a wedding gift to his then fiancee Mary Elizabeth 'Liz' Altemus. It was located in Upperville, Virginia and Liz Whitney immediately saw its potential, designing a steeplechase course which was unrivalled in the USA at that time. They were married in 1930 and lived in the Manor House on the Estate, and by November 1931 the fantastic, challenging steeplechase course was ready for the inaugural running of the Llangollen National Steeplechase.

The inaugural running of the Llangollen National Steeplechase, over 3 demanding 3-mile brush course, was won by Word of Honor and was captured in a much sought-after print showing the race.

By the second running of the event on 12th November 1932 a crowd in excess of 22,000 witnessed the race which drew some of the best steeplechasers in the country, including Green Cheese, Barometer, Rideaway and Berildon’s Flash, owned by Mrs Allen Potts, who led the field before fouling near the finish, and was subsequently disqualified. The race was won by Outlaw, owned by Mrs Marshall Field III of Chicago and Mrs W Plunket Stewart and ridden by the amateur gentlemen rider Rigan McKinney.
1932 Llangollen National Steeplechase ($3500) over 3 miles
1. OUTLAW, owned by Mrs Marshall Field III and Mrs W Plunket Stewart and ridden by Rigar McKinney
2. HUFFY owned by Mrs George Atwell
3. M STAR owned by Mrs John Hay Whitney

I am grateful to David Copland for the photos of the magnificent trophy shown below.

The 3rd Llangollen National Steeplechase was held in 1933 and was won by Daniel Scott, owned by Mrs Frank M Gould and ridden by W Hunt.

The 4th Llangollen national Steeplechase was held in 1934, with the result shown below:-
1934 Llangollen National Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. HUFFY, owned by Mrs George Atwell and ridden by F Thorndike
2. LUCKITE, owned by Mr J W Y Martin and ridden by W Hunt
3. GASTON, owned by N S Ludington Farms and ridden by J N Theodore

Liz and Jock Whitney divorced in June 1940 but she retained the estate and lived there for almost six decades until her death in 1988. During her latter years, the elderly Liz Whitney allowed the property to become run down. She died in 1988, and the property was sold in 1989.

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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