NORTHOLT PARK RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 4th May 1929
Final meeting: Monday 24th June 1940
Northolt Park, located between Harrow and Ealing, was formerly in the old county of Middlesex.The first recorded race meeting took place on Monday 4th May 1929, the course being the most well known of all the courses to host pony races. The body in charge of the administration of pony racing was the ‘Pony Turf Club’ which was at its height in the 1930s. The left-handed course was 10 furlongs round, but was able to offer races between 5 fulongs and over 2 miles. Northolt was a pioneer in a number of ways, especially in the timing of races and the use of starting stalls adapted so that the timer began when the stalls opened, ending when the nose of the winning pony broke the ray across the winning line. Even as punters entered the course they were greeted by a spectacular gate called the Benjamin Barriers; the gates still remain despite the course no longer existing. The principal race was the Northolt Derby which was so popular it was televised in 1938, even competing for air time with the Epsom Derby when Epsom temporarily refused the BBC to broadcast the great race. In the end a compromise was reached and both were broadcast. On Monday 12th June 1939 there was a famous victory in the Northolt Derby when the eccentric Miss Dorothy Paget won with Scottish Rifle. Racing continued until June 1940 before the War finally intervened. Expectations were high at the start of 1940 with 35 days of racing advertised, and even a month before its demise the course was advertising a meeting on Monday 24th June starting at 6.30pm, with the Northolt Derby due to be run at 7.35pm. Then an announcement came,’The receiver and manager of Northolt Park Ltd has been requested by the War Office to fall into line with the decision affecting horse racing, and the meeting scheduled for Monday 24th June has been cancelled’. The course was used as an army depot and prisoner of War camp, and after the War racing did not return. The Racecourse Estate was built in the early 1950s, although that famous set of gates can still be seen close to Northolt Railway Station.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Miss Dorothy Paget
Principal Races Northolt Derby (see 1935 winner below)

Monday 12th June 1939
Northolt Derby
1. Scottish Rifle, owned by Miss Dorothy Paget and ridden by Pat Donoghue
2= Win Over
2= White Face II

Northolt park racecourse.JPG (20166 bytes)

The final meeting took place in June 1940

Very grateful to Nigel Lodder for providing pictures of Evasion winning the 1935 Northolt Derby in the hands of T.Carey. This set of 3 photos are available for purchase from susie51_q@yahoo.com
Very grateful to Neal Underwood who observes that there are a few visible signs of the racecourse, including the entrance gates and the steps up to the Grandstand. The finishing straight is also still visible. On the remainder of the 150 acre site is a housing 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

1931 1933 1935 1936
Northolt Park 1937.JPG (23375 bytes) Northolt Park 1937s.JPG (9285 bytes)
1937 1937 1938 1939
   
1939 1940    

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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