MANSFIELD RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Saturday 21st August 1734
Final meeting: Monday 13th July 1874
The Nottinghamshire mining town of Mansfield first held races in 1734 when Baily’s Racing Register provided detailed results from the meeting held on Saturday 21st August. The £20 Plate was won by Coneyskins for Mr Watson, while the £30 Plate went to Quiet Cuddy for Mr Peirse. The town benefitted considerably from having a number of famous racing stables in its vicinity. The ‘wizard of the north’ John Scott built a racing stable for Mr Petre and later for Thomas Houldsworth of Sherwood Hall. The 1815 St Leger winner, Filho da Puta, was trained from his Mansfield stables by John Scott. Although racing took place intermittently for the next century, the first occasion results were reported in the Sporting Magazine was in 1840. The course, situated on the Southwell road, a convenient distance from the town centre, was 2 miles in circumference, but horses rounded the Sherwood Turn a mile and a half from the winning post, while the racecourse also had a 5 furlong straight course. On Saturday 11th July 1840 the Plate was won by Frank and the Purse of Sovereigns by Jim Crow, while on Monday 13th July Jim Crow completed a double for owner Mr Eccles in the second Plate. Later meetings were generously sponsored by the Duke of Portland, the owner of Rufford Castle. The meeting of 1845 was remarkable in that hurdle races were introduced onto the programme for the first time. The Landlord of the Bowling Hand Inn on Leeming Street, Mansfield was Mr Short, and he was a fanatical racing supporter. He travelled the distance from Mansfield to Doncaster each year to witness the St Leger and claims to have seen 49 St Legers. He died in 1871 and was buried in Mansfield cemetery on St Leger Day. The final meeting took place on Monday 13th July 1874.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Short, Mr Petre, Mr Peirse, Mr Eskreet, Mr Lamb
Principal Races Sherwood Stakes, Mansfield Hurdle Syakes, North Broxtowe Stakes, Portland Plate

Saturday 21st August 1734

Mansfield £30 Plate
1. Quiet Cuddy owned by Mr Peirse
2. Smallhopes owned by Mr Williamson

Mansfield £20 Plate
1. Coneyskins owned by Mr Watson
2. Salisbury Steeple owned by Mr Green

Saturday 11th July & Monday 13th July 1840

Mansfield Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Frank owned by Mr N H Stagg
2. Brother to Vain owned by Mr Frost
3. Single Weeper owned by Mr Eaton

Mansfield Purse of Sovereigns
1. Jim Crow owned by Mr Eccles
2. Small Hopes owned by Mr Darby
3. Lottery owned by Mr Bustle

Mansfield Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Jim Crow owned by Mr Eccles
2. Brother to Vain owned by Mr Frost
3. Single Weeper owned by Mr Eaton

Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th July 1846

The Sherwood Stakes over a mile and a half
1. Exhort owned by Mr Eskreet
2. Teresa owned by Mr Oliver
3. Factory Girl owned by Mr Readhead

The Mansfield Hurdle Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Erebus owned by Mr J Whitehead
2. St Albans owned by Mr Brown
3. Maid of Auckland owned by Mr Wood

North Broxtowe Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Erebus owned by Mr J Whitehead
2. Lady Flora owned by Mr Lamb
3. Maid of Auckland owned by Mr Wood

Wednesday 11th July 1855

The Portland Plate over 2 miles
1. Morning Star owned by Mr J Knott
2. Angelo owned by Mr Brown
3. Massa Mungo owned by Mr Hall

The Sherwood Plate over 4 furlongs
1. Cimicina owned by Mr Clarke
2. The Swell owned by Mr Adamson
3. Maid of Gulborne owned by Mr G Taylor

Mansfield Town Plate over 1 ¼ miles
1. Angelo owned by Mr Brown
2. Posey owned by Mr Hurst
3. The Swell owned by Mr Adamson

I am grateful to Bob Renshaw for the following information. In 1970 the Alms Houses situated on part of the old racecourse north of Eakring Road were being considered for development. The former Mayor and Alderman of Mansfield, German Abbott,  recalls that at one time Mansfield was considered as an alternative to Newmarket as the Headquarters of racing. Whilst it was ideally placed in a central position in the country, it probably could not boast such extensive gallops as Newmarket, and certainly could not boast 2 (at one time 3) courses as Newmarket could. Bob goes on to suggest that the two straights of the Racecourse are still readily recognisable as wide paths; one from Eakring Road through to Southwell Road (the pitch and putt course either side), the other from just east of Maltby Road to Southwell Road. These, at one time, crossed Eakring Road and Southwell Road and were joined at either end by two semicircles of track. The full extent of this was quite obvious on Ordnance Survey maps of the 1950s.
It is also known that Mr. Thomas Houldsworth, the great cotton spinner of Manchester, a relative of the present steward of the Jockey Club, had a racing establishment on the Rock, which is within view of the racecourse; and Scott took charge of his horses, including Filho da Puta, who won the St. Leger in 1815, and was afterwards useful at the stud. Mr. Houldsworth became the owner of Sherwood Hall, a pleasantly situated residence a short distance from Mansfield; and, though he never lived there, a private racecourse for training purposes was laid out on the estate, and the house was occupied by the trainer.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Monday 13th July 1874.
Course today

Two mile racecourse on the Southwell Road, just a short walk from the town centre.

See also the information given by Bob Renshaw above.
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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