Newton Abbot Racecourse History
Newton Abbot 1985.JPG (12582 bytes)

The earliest record of racing in the Devon town of Newton Abbot, at the current site, was on Thursday 9th August 1866 when the meeting was billed as South Devon and Newton Races. However, it is clear that some form of racing took place in the town as early as the 1730s, as evidenced by an article from the North Devon Journal (Thursday 13th June 1833) in which it stated, ‘Newton Bushel and Newton Abbot races are scheduled to take place in the middle of July, on Milbourne Down, near the two towns, where a splendid course (3 mile heats) is nearly completed. These races have been suspended for more than a century, but will be revived under most favourable auspices, and excellent sport is anticipated.’ Additional newspaper reports, covering race meetings in the town between 1833 and 1865, are shown below. The inaugural two day meeting on the current 91 acre site, purchased by a group of local businessmen on the north bank of the River Teign, began on Thursday 9th August 1866 with the mile and a quarter Innkeepers Stakes in which Mr Mason’s Ned of the Hills was victorious when ridden by C Page. Full details of the opening meeting are shown below. Meetings continued at Teignmouth until the War forced racing to cease between 1914 and 1918, the course being occupied by troops and used as a Prisoner of War camp. After the War, in 1919, Charles Lane Vicary took over as the Clerk of the course and rapid improvements were made possible by the sale of 10,000 £1 shares allocated to 50 shareholders. Progress was held up again between 1939 and 1945, with just one day’s racing being staged in 1940 until peace treaties were signed. The course benefitted indirectly from the War because Torquay racecourse, which prior to the War had been very successful, closed because its grandstand was destroyed by a wartime bomb. Newton Abbot reopened after the War, and on August Bank Holiday Monday 1946 the management were rewarded with a crowd in excess of 17,000. The course continued to go from strength to strength, and in 1969 their main grandstand was opened by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, who had been lured into National Hunt racing by Lord Mildmay who became her racing manager. However, it was a further two decades before corporate facilities were built in 1990 when the course was given fresh impetus by the appointment of a new General Manager Patrick Masterson. Currently the course offers 18 fixtures annually.

Thursday 9th August 1866
The Innkeepers’ 10 Sovereign Plate over 1 ¼ miles

1. Ned of the Hills, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Mason and ridden by C Page
2. Joe Smith, bay horse owned by Mr P Collings and ridden by Hayman
3. Hermit, bay horse owned by Mr Jones and ridden by Lugg

Newton Abbot continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Torquay closed its gates for the final time in 1940.

There was evidence of racing in the seaside town of Torquay, in the County of Devon, as early as 1854 when the inaugural meeting was held at Cary Park on Thursday 16th February 1854. The races were organised by local tradesmen, notably the baker, the hatter and the candlestick maker, and the course even boasted a grandstand adjacent to Furrough Cross cottages. The races remained at Cary Park for 23 years before moving near to Waddeton. The first meeting, a two day meeting, held at the new course was on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th April 1878, although the move only lasted 12 years. Torquay Racecourse was transferred to Petitor and was to remain there for 50 years. The course shared its existence with Torquay Golf Club, benefitting from its many facilities, and for one week a year the Racecourse Committee leased the course from the District Council. The final meeting took place on Monday 25th March 1940 when almost 9000 attended. Although races ceased for the duration of the War, a bomb destroyed most of the facilities, including the grandstand, on Sunday 23rd May 1943. When the War ended it was decided that rebuilding costs were too great and racing transferred to Newton Abbot.

Monday 5th April 1926
West of England Handicap Steeplechase over 2 miles
1. Apple Pie owned by Sir Ernest Wills
2. Hackdaile owned by Mrs G.S.L.Whitelaw
3. Rath-Luire owned by Mrs Guy Shorrock

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1809 map shown below.
Newton Abbot 1985.JPG (12582 bytes)
1985 Member 1986 Member 1987 Member 1988 Member 1989 Member
Although the first meeting on the present day site took place on Thursday 9th August 1866, there were regular race meetings in Newton Abbot before this date. Extracts from Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle for meetings in 1836 and 1837 are shown below courtesy of the British Library Online.
A further newspaper report from the May 1841 Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle is shown below courtesy of the British Library Online.
After the Second World War ended racing returned to Newton Abbot and was particularly well-supported at the Bank Holiday meeting on Monday 5th August 1946 when a crowd in excess of 17,000 is reported to have been in attendance. Results from the meeting are shown below.

At the two day meeting which began on Saturday 5th April 1947 the peer Lord Mildmay rode 4 winners, beginning with Chaud Froid (6/4) and Watchit (evens), followed on the second day by Fisherman’s Yarn (8/13) and Cromwell (evens.)
The principal race at the track is the Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase, a Listed race over 2 miles 5 furlongs and 110 yards, which was first contested in 2004 when won by the Peter Bowen trained Take the Stand. Details of previous winners are shown below.

2004 Member 2005 Member 2006 Member 2007 Member 2008 Member

2004 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Take the Stand (100/30), trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by Seamus Durack 11 ran
2005 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Tamango (20/1), trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson 16 ran
2006 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Kings Brook (11/1), trained by Nick Williams and ridden by Timmy Murphy 14 ran
2007 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Kings Brook (12/1), trained by Nick Williams and ridden by Robert Thornton 16 ran
2008 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Snoopy Loopy (10/1), trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by Seamus Durack 13 ran
2009 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Star of Germany (14/1), trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore 15 ran

 
2009 Member 2010 Member 2014 Member 2016 Member  

2010 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Passato (14/1), trained by Miss J S Davis and ridden by Tom O’Brien 16 ran
2011 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Stewarts House (8/1), trained by Tim Vaughan and ridden by Richard Johnson 14 ran
2012 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Shoegazer (9/2), trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore 10 ran
2013 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by The Disengager (10/1), trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson 11 ran
2014 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Notarfbad (9/1), trained by J Scott and ridden by Nick Schofield 9 ran
2015 The Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase was won by Standing Ovation (6/1), trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore 12 ran

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.
ORDER FORM
Download an order form
  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    
Postage & Packaging    
Total    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com