MULLINGAR RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 20th May 1754
Final meeting: Monday 3rd July 1967
The Irish racecourse at the town of Mullingar, the county town of County Westmeath, was a well-supported racecourse administered by the Westmeath Hunt Committee on its Newbrook course. One of the first occasions when racing took place was a full five day meeting stretching from Monday 20th to Friday 24th May 1754. The opening Sportsmen’s Subscription Purse, worth 150 guineas, which is £32,000 in todays money, was won by Mr John Brown’s Flying Piper. True Blue won the four year old Stakes the next day, while the race restricted to Irish bred horses went to Mr Deal’s Hackney. Racing continued intermittently for the next 15 years before it was recorded in the Racing Calendar again when a meeting lasted from Monday 14th to Thursday 17th August 1769. A field of seven, large for that period in history, contested the Sweepstake which saw Mr Armstrong’s Slug beat Hamlet and Justice. Racing continued regularly, but the appeal of the turf and the accessibility to ordinary punters was improved significantly when the railway network was extended in 1849. The Midland and Great Western Railway Company sponsored the Mullingar Steeplechase for £25 at the meeting held in March 1849. There were some boom times, particularly in the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, when racecourses rewarded their shareholders with large dividends. However, Mullingar started running at a significant loss in 1926 and action was needed. At this time in Irish racing history there was a feeling that Dublin tracks were getting a larger slice of the racing calendar, so thirteen provincial tracks joined forces to form the Irish Provincial Racecourse Executives’ Association led by Mr T J Dowdall from Mullingar. Their aim was to get a fair share of racing fixtures to enable their courses to put themselves on a more secure financial footing. This did not provide a solution to falling crowd sizes and the gradual decline in the quality of racing offered. Eventually the problem became too great and the final meeting took place on Monday 3rd July 1967.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Antrim, Mr W H Bagnall
Principal Races Kilpatrick Plate, Stand Handicap Plate

20th May 1754

Mullingar Sportsmen’s Subscription Purse of 150 Guineas
1. Flying Piper, bay gelding owned by Mr John Brown
2. Amelia, bay mare owned by Mr Hill Forster

21st May 1754

Mullingar £20 4 year old Stakes over 2 miles
1. True Blue, gelding owned by Mr Mahon
2. Unnamed grey filly owned by Magan
3. Unnamed grey filly owned by Mr Tighe

22nd May 1754

Mullingar £20 Irish Bred Race
1. Hackney, bay gelding owned by Mr Deal
2. Pettycoat Tight, bay mare owned by Mr Burrows
3. Unnamed bay gelding owned by Mr Horegan

23rd May 1754

Mullingar £20 Open
1. Skewball, bay gelding owned by Lord Antrim
2. Unnamed mare owned by Mr Taylor

24th May 1754

Mullingar £40 Purse
1. Poppit, bay horse owned by Mr Howard
2. Thwack’em, bay horse owned by Lord Antrim

Monday 18th September 1899

The Kilpatrick Plate over 2 miles
1. Drumcree owned by Mr C Hope
2. Lady Hermit owned by Mr W H Bagnall
3. The Wench owned by Mr P Rogers

The Stand Handicap Plate over a mile and a furlong
1. L’Appel owned by Mr Holmes
2. The Stutterer owned by Mr P I Lennon
3. Majesta owned by Mr J J Parkinson

With grateful thanks to Stephen McCurrie for the image of the racecard shown above. He comments that Arkle began his racing career at Mullingar.
The final meeting took place on Monday 3rd July 1967
Course today The Newbrook racecourse.
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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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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