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Earliest meeting: Thursday 8th April 1852
Final meeting: Thursday 26th March 1863
Racing first took place in the Leicestershire market town of Market Harborough on Thursday 8th April 1852. The course was on a ‘beautiful spot of land owned by Mr B E Bennet, providing an exceptional view for the several thousand specatators’. The opening Sweepstake was won by Mr Hewitt’s Charlie.  Flat racing was never as popular as National Hunt racing in this hunting area, and the final flat meeting took place a short time later. However, deemed to be the most important steeplechase ever held in the United Kingdom, the Grand National Hunt Steeplechase of 1860 was the race which saw the establishment of the National Hunt Committee which went on to run the sport. The race was run at a 4 mile course on the outskirts of Market Harborough. The course passed through East Farndon, Thorpe Lubenham and Clipston. It was hoped that the race would bring together all the hunters in the UK and subscriptions were taken from each Hunt group. A fund of £500 was gathered to which a £10 per entry sweepstake was added. Almost unheard of at this time was a large field, but in this instance there were 58 entries, of which 31 went to post. The race was staged on Wednesday 18th April 1860 and was won by Bridegroom owned by Mr B F Angell and ridden by Mr E C Burton. Racing continued for each of the next 3 years with the feature Grand Steeplechase being the highlight of the card. The final meeting took place on Thursday 26th March 1863.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Mr Edmund  C Burton, Mr Alec Goodman

Principal Races

Grand National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup

Wednesday 18th April 1860

Grand National Hunt Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Bridegroom owned by Mr B F Angell and ridden by Mr E C Burton

4th April 1861

Grand National Hunt Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Queensferry owned by Mr B F Angell and ridden by Mr E C Burton
This time there was a pot of £300 with £10 sweepstakes per entry added. Thirty-eight horses entered this time, and 17 went to post.

April 1863

Grand National Hunt Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Socks owned by Lord Calthorpe

The final meeting took place on Thursday 26th March 1863.
Course today On a 4 mile course on land owned by Mr B E Bennett on the outskirts of the town.
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

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 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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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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