MITCHELSTOWN RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 14th April 1834
Final meeting: Saturday 17th May 1902
The county Cork town of Mitchelstown, on the River Gradoge, is located in the valley south of the Galtee mountains and is named after the St Michel family who founded the settlement in the 13th century. One of the earliest recorded race meetings in the town was held on Monday 14th April 1834 when the opening race went to Mr Moore’s Sampson, the Sweepstake to Mr O’Brien’s Agitator and the concluding race to Mr Haye’s Little Moll. In 1853 a two day meeting was staged on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th March 1853 when the early Sweepstake was won by Mr Johnson’s Cock Robin, defeating Caffre and Giorvina, while the main race on the next day, the Handicap Stakes over 1 ½ miles, went to Mr Ash’s Rocket. Entries for the races were made at the local hotel from where an Ordinary was served each day after the races had ended, presided over by the stewards. The period between 1879 and 1887 was a turbulent one for the town because rent strikes were organised by William O’Brien, the local MP, against unscrupulous landlords on the Mitchelstown Estate. The protests culminated in a gathering in New Square on 9th September 1887 which was brought to a dramatic, tragic conclusion when the police interrupted the peaceful demonstration and opened fire, killing two people on a day labelled as the Mitchelstown Massacre. Racing continued into the early part of the 20th century, with a final meeting on Saturday 17th May 1902 at which the Galtee Hunt Plate finished in a dead heat between The Gunner and King Philip, although the latter was disqualified due a reason accepted by his rider Mr P Hayes.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Marquis of Waterford, Captain Johnson, Lieutenant Bidgood
Principal Races Mitchelstown Free Handicap, Mitchelstown Sweepstake

Wednesday 30th March 1853
Mitchelstown Handicap Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Rocket, bay gelding owned by Mr Ash
2. Oakstick, bay gelding owned by Mr Johnson
3. Frolic, 5 year old owned by Mr Callaghan

The final meeting took place on Saturday 17th May 1902
Course today Across ground on the Mitchelstown Estate.
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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