LOUGHREA RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 24th August 1752
Final meeting: Tuesday 22nd August 1916
The Irish racecourse at the town of Loughrea was in County Galway and today has a population of approximately 6,000. Early records indicate that racing first took place in 1752 when a two day meeting spread over three days began on Monday 24th August 1752. The Loughrea £40 Purse was won by Thomas Lambert’s Starling, while the Gentlemen’s Subscription Purse went to Mr Dillon’s chestnut gelding. Ten years later a full five day meeting, extending from Friday 8th to Wednesday 13th October 1762, featured a Handicap restricted to Irish Bred horses which was won by Modesty owned by Mr Donough.  In 1793 the local stewards were concerned about unknown outsiders coming in and poaching their races. They asked the Turf Club to rule on whether horses not known to the local Loughrea stewards should be allowed to run in their races, and to their great relief the Irish Turf Club ruled in their favour. Unrest in the early part of the 19th century and the great famine in the middle of the century both threatened the existence of Loughrea, and they did lose some meetings. However, the Knockbarron course was packed for the two day meeting on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th May 1867. The final meeting of note took place on Tuesday 22nd August 1916 when the Knockbarron Plate was won by First of Man for Mr Joseph Widger, while the Loughrea Town Plate went to Mr J J Parkinson’s Henriette. Races did continue after this point, but they were minor affairs and hunt races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Earl of Clarincarde, Mr Conolly, Major Kirwan
Principal Races Clarincarde 2YO Stakes, Earl of Clarincarde £50 Stakes

24th August 1752

Loughrea £40 Purse over 4 miles
1. Starling, bay horse owned by Thomas Lambert
2. Blunder, bay horse owned by Walter Taylor
3. Batchelor, bay gelding owned by Arthur Judge

26th August 1752

Loughrea Gentlemen’s Subscription Purse of 70 Guineas
1. Unnamed chestnut gelding owned by Mr Dillon and ridden by Charles Donnellan
2. Unnamed bay gelding owned by Mr Daly and ridden by Captain Norman
3. Unnamed bay gelding owned by Cornet French and ridden by Mr French

Friday 8th to Wednesday 13th October 1762 (including Sunday!!)

Loughrea Weight for Age Handicap for Irish Bred Horses
1. Modesty owned by Mr Donough
2. Diana owned by Mr Knox
3. Unnamed 6 year old horse owned by Mr Huson

Thursday 26th September to Wednesday 2nd October 1782

Loughrea Three Mile Handicap
1. Harvest owned by Mr Conolly
2. Ophelia owned by Mr J Kirwan
3. Constantia owned by Mr J Fallon

In 1793 the local stewards were concerned about unknown outsiders coming in and poaching their races. They asked the Turf Club to rule on whether horses not known to the local Loughrea stewards should be allowed to run in their races. The Irish Turf Club ruled they should not.

In 1794 The Irish Racing Calendar was published by its proprietor P. Sharkey. It contained an Account of the Plates, Matches and Sweepstakes run for in Ireland from the April Meeting 1794. An extract of this is shown below.

Monday 25th to Saturday 30th August 1794

Loughrea 4 Year Old Purse over 2 miles
1. Drone owned by Mr Kirwan
2. Grosvenor owned by Mr Hamilton
3. Scrambler owned by Mr Daly

Loughrea 5 Year Old Purse over 3 miles
1. Drone owned by Mr Kirwan
2. Tidy owned by Mr Kelly
3. Unnamed spotted filly by Friar owned by Mr Daly

Marquis of Clanricarde Plate over 4 miles
1. Bacchus owned by Mr Kirwan
2. Pantheon owned by Mr Fallon

Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th August 1824

Clanricarde Stakes for Two Year Olds
1. Unnamed filly by Oiseau owned by Mr Kirwan
2. Byron owned by Mr Ffrench
3. Eugenie owned by Mr O’Callaghan

Loughrea Challenge Stakes over 2 miles
1. Hohenlohe owned by Mr Daxon
2. O’Fy owned by Mr Ffrench

The Earl of Clanricarde £50 Stakes over 2 miles
1. Hohenlohe owned by Mr Daxon
2. Petworth owned by Mr Hearne
3. Levanter owned by Mr Blake

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 22nd August 1916.
Course today On the Knockbarron course.
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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