Market Rasen Racecourse History

As part of their Autumn Feast Week celebrations Market Rasen held match races over a Flat racing course in the early part of the 1800s. Although the first recorded results from a meeting held in the town were reported in the Boston, Lincoln and Louth Herald, commenting on the meeting staged on Monday 29th September 1828, three years before that a strange race was held between Market Rasen and Caistor and drew the attention of Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle. Details of the race are shown below. In the mid-1800s Market Rasen made use of as many as 5 different racecourses, the choice determined by which publican was host for that particular year. Courses were located in fields on Legsby Lane, Linwood Road, Mill Lane, Caistor Road and Willingham Road, and the main publicans organising the meetings were George Rowell and Thompson F Kerman. The meetings were local events organised by local farmers and publicans and supported by local people. In 1848 there were over 70 villages within an 8 mile radius of the town, but prior to this date villagers attending the races either had to walk or use a carriage. That all changed in 1848 when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company began serving the town. In the 1860s meetings were held on weekdays, often Mondays, and the entrance fee was kept low to ensure punters attended in their thousands. This began to change in the 1880s when fixture clashes with nearby cities led to less competitive racing, particularly in the Autumn months. However, the town was prepared to change to ensure racing continued. There were fewer Autumn meetings, an increased number of Spring meetings, fewer all Flat meetings and an increased number of Steeplechase and Hurdle races. The recipe worked and today Market Rasen remains as popular as ever. In July 1923 the Market Rasen Steeplechase Committee, under the Chairmanship of H.Abraham, decided to form the committee into a limited company. At the meeting Mr Wilfred Cartwright reported that, at a recent auction, he had purchased land conveniently situated between the Willingham and Legsby Roads for the purpose of holding the annual steeplechases. It was all-systems go to make the course ready for a meeting on Easter Monday 1924. In April 1924 the current racecourse was used for the first time, holding its inaugural meeting on Monday 21st April 1924. The first race, a lowly Selling Steeplechase, was won by Have A Care, owned by Mr J G Lyall and ridden by R.Lyall. Today the course offers 22 days of racing using each day of the week, including Sunday and evening meetings.

 

Market Rasen continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Lincoln closed its gates for the final time in 1964.

The first recorded meeting in the vicinity of the city of Lincoln took place on the 12th February 1597 on Lincoln Heath using a four mile course, with racing remaining at this location until 1770. In April 1617 King James I attended the races and presented the Cup for the main race of the meeting. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Lincoln on the 4th September 1727. By 1773 racing had transferred to Carholme, a left-handed track of one mile six furlongs round, on the Lincoln to Gainsborough road. The course was fully supported by a significant number of prominent racing Nobles, including Lord Halifax, Lord Cardigan and Lord Scarborough. In February 1843 Lincoln made the ambitious leap from a purely Flat racing racecourse to include National Hunt racing. It attracted top class steeplechasers in its early days, with previous Grand National winners Vanguard (1843 winner) and Cure All (1845 winner) contesting the Lincolnshire Steeplechase in 1846.  Famous Flat races which still remain part of today’s racing calendar, albeit at different racecourses, started life on the Lincoln course, most notably the Lincoln Handicap (first run on 10th August 1849) and the Brocklesby Stakes (first run in 1842). There was a gradual decline in crowd size over the next century and in April 1963 the Levy Board named Lincoln as one of 12 racecourses that would not receive subsidy after 1966. The course never recovered from this blow and the final meeting took place on Thursday 21st May 1964.

Friday 1st October 1824
Lincoln Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Minna owned by Mr Haworth
2. Fair Charlotte owned by Lord Scarbrough
3. Bourdeaux owned by Lord Fitzwilliam

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1856 map shown below.
The first newspaper extract shown below, courtesy of the British Library Online, reports on a race in January 1825, will the full results from a meeting on 4th October 1839 are shown courtesy of the Lincolnshire Chronicle.
1970 Gents 1972 Gents 1973 Gents 1974 Ladies 1975 Gents

The rare 1928 handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

1983 Ladies 1984 Gents 1984 Ladies 1985 Gents 1985 Ladies

The Summer Plate Steeplechase over 2 ¾ miles and the Summer Hurdle over 2 ¼ miles were first given Listed status in 2005. Full results of both events are shown below.
2005 The Summer Hurdle was won by Buena Vista (2/1) trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by A P McCoy 18 ran
2005 The Summer Plate was won by Tango Royal (25/1) trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by A P McCoy 24 ran
2006 The Summer Hurdle was won by Tycoon Hall (33/1) trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by T J O’Brien 17 ran
2006 The Summer Plate was won by Yes Sir (3/1) trained by Peter Bowen 9 ran

1986 Gents 1986 Ladies 1987 Gents 1987 Ladies 1988 Gents

2007 The Summer Hurdle was won by Kings Quay (12/1) trained by John Quinn and ridden by Dougie Costello 17 ran
2007 The Summer Plate was won by Iron Man (5/1) trained by Peter Bowen 18 ran
2008 The Summer Hurdle was won by Katies Tuitor (7/1) trained by Charlie Mann and ridden by Noel Fehily 15 ran
2008 The Summer Plate was won by Snoopy Loopy (16/1) trained by Peter Bowen 11 ran

1988 Ladies 1989 Gents 1989 Ladies 1990 Gents 1990 Ladies

2009 The Summer Hurdle was won by Cootehill (13/2) trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Paddy Brennan 13 ran
2009 The Summer Plate was won by Nostringsattached (7/2) trained by Jonjo O’Neill  5 ran
2010 The Summer Hurdle was won by Australia Day (7/1) trained by P Weber and ridden by Denis O’Regan 17 ran
2010 The Summer Plate was won by Grand Slam Hero (9/1) trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies 11 ran

1991 Ladies 1991 Gents 1991 Official 1992 Gents 1992 Ladies

2011 The Summer Hurdle was won by Viva Colonia (14/1) trained by David O’Meara and ridden by Denis O’Regan 16 ran
2011 The Summer Plate was won by Qulinton (15/2) trained by David Pipe 11 ran
2012 The Summer Hurdle was won by Local Hero (9/2) trained by S Gollins and ridden by P D Bohan 16 ran
2012 The Summer Plate was won by I Have Dreamed (9/1) trained by Lawney Hill 19 ran

1993 Gents 1993 Ladies 1994 Gents 1995 Gents 1996 Member

2013 The Summer Hurdle was won by Sea Lord (9/2 jf) trained by J.P.Ferguson and ridden by D.F.O’Regan 14 ran
2013 The Summer Plate was won by Bobowen (8/1) trained by Dr Richard Newland and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies 16 ran
2014 The Summer Hurdle was won by Purple Bay (7/1) trained by J P Ferguson and ridden by Mickey Ennis 13 ran
2014 The Summer Plate was won by It’s A Gimme (2/1) trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A P McCoy 13 ran

1997 Member 1998 Member 1999 Member 2000 Member 2001 Member

2015 The Summer Hurdle was won by Gran Maestro (16/1) trained by Dr Richard Newland and ridden by Will Kennedy 17 ran
2015 The Summer Plate was won by Brave Spartacus (12/1) trained by Keith Reveley and ridden by James Reveley 14 ran
2016 The Summer Hurdle was won by Red Tornado (8/1) trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Harry Skelton 15 ran
2016 The Summer Plate was won by Long House Hall (6/1 jf) trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Harry Skelton 16 ran

2002 Member 2003 Member 2004 Member 2005 Member 2006 Member
2007 Member 2008 Member 2009 Member 2010 Member 2011 Member
       
2012 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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