Nottingham Racecourse History

In 1689 the Nottingham Corporation gave an early indication they wished to promote racing in the area by subscribing towards a Plate which was run over a 4 mile course on the Old Racecourse at Forest Recreation Ground. However, it was almost thirty years before a King’s Plate was contested in 1717, with a Royal Plate following some ten years later on the Sherwood Forest course. The Derby Mercury reported on the 3 day meeting from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th June 1753 which began with a prestigious His Majesty’s 100 Guineas Plate which saw Mr Meredith’s bay horse Bandy defeat Lord March’s Danby Cade. The main race on Thursday was the Town Plate, with result shown below. In 1777 a grandstand was opened, designed by York architect John Carr, the foundation stone having been laid on 1st February. The stand was funded by selling two silver subscribers tickets to each of 48 people who made a donation of 20 guineas or more. It was a further 20 years before part of the course became enclosed for the first time, when a figure of eight course was established. The first meeting under National Hunt rules was staged on Tuesday 26th February 1867, while the final meeting was held on the Forest Recreation Ground in September 1890, bringing to an end over two centuries of racing on that course. The two day meeting on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th August 1892 was the first to be held at Colwick Park under the auspices of the Colwick Racing and Sporting Company. A famous day in the history of the course occurred in 1931 when Golden Miller won a steeplechase in January before going on to much greater achievements. In 1933 the great Sir Gordon Richards rode a winner at Nottingham on 3rd October; not remarkable when taken in isolation, but later made remarkable because it was to prove to be the first of 12 consecutive winners, the next eleven all being at Chepstow. During the War, in 1940 the Newmarket meeting took place at Nottingham for the one and only time, with famous races like the Jockey Club Cup, the Middle Park Stakes and The Cambridgeshire run at Colwick Park. The Corporation once again took charge of the 293 acre racecourse in 1965, purchasing it for £5 million from Nottingham Racecourse Company. In 1974 Nottingham hosted the first ever race between male and female jockeys at the 1st April meeting. Lester Piggott marked the end of his wonderful career at Nottingham, riding his final winner on Full Choice on Tuesday 29th October 1985 in the Willington Handicap Stakes. In 1986 the grandstand was engulfed by fire in March, requiring an extensive rebuilding programme to be undertaken. The new grandstand was opened on Monday 27th April 1987. In 1992 Colwick Park celebrated its centenary when the New Members Stand was completed and opened by Desert Orchid on 1st February, while the final National Hunt meeting took place on Thursday 29th February 1996. Its principal races are the Listed Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes over 1 mile 6 furlongs and 15 yards, the Listed Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes over 6 furlongs, and the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks over 1 mile 2 furlongs and 50 yards which was first contested at Warwick as the Warwickshire Oaks between 2006 and 2013 before switching to Nottingham in 2014 once Warwick closed as a Flat racing course. Currently the course hosts 20 fixtures annually.
Thursday 5th June 1753
Nottingham Town Plate for 50 Sovereigns

1. Lightfoot, bay horse owned by Lord Eglington
2. Whimsey, brown mare owned by Mr Warren
3. Charmer, grey horse owned by Sir Charles Sedley
4. Danby Cade, bay horse owned by Lord March

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Nottingham continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Mansfield closed its gates for the final time in 1874.
Nottingham 1913ds.JPG (40117 bytes) The Nottinghamshire mining town of Mansfield first held races in 1734 when Baily’s Racing Register provided detailed results from the meeting held on Saturday 21st August. The town benefitted considerably from having a number of famous racing stables in its vicinity. The ‘wizard of the north’ John Scott built a racing stable for Mr Petre and later for Thomas Houldsworth of Sherwood Hall. The 1815 St Leger winner, Filho da Puta, was trained from the stables by John Scott. Although racing took place intermittently for the next century, the first occasion results were reported in the Sporting Magazine was in 1840. The course, situated on the Southwell road, just a convenient distance from the town centre, was 2 miles in circumference, but horses rounded the Sherwood Turn a mile and a half from the winning post. Later meetings were generously sponsored by the Duke of Portland, the owner of Rufford Castle. The meeting of 1845 was remarkable in that hurdle races were introduced onto the programme for the first time. The final meeting took place on Monday 13th July 1874. Nottingham 1923ds.JPG (40872 bytes)
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I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.
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Winners of the Nottinghamshire Oaks (previously run at Warwick)
2006 Power Girl trained by Paul Cole and ridden by Jamie Spencer
2007 Dash To The Front trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Oscar Urbina
2008 Ronaldsay trained by Richard Hannon snr and ridden by Richard Hughes
2009 Cassique Lady trained by Lucy Wadham and ridden by Eddie Ahern
2010 Lady Jane Digby trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Greg Fairley
2011 Timepiece trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by Tom Queally
2012 Set To Music trained by Michael Bell and ridden by Jamie Spencer
2013 La Arenosa trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Harry Bentley
2014 Secret Gesture trained by Ralph Beckett and ridden by Jamie Spencer
2015 Mutatis Mutandis trained by Ed Walker and ridden by Luke Morris
2016 Elbereth trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Oisin Murphy
2017 Wilamina trained by Martyn Meade and ridden by Andrea Atzeni

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2008 Gents        
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PADDOCK INSPECTION: One of these fillies looks favourite. FURLONG OUT: Could you predict the winner?
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WINNER PICKING: Like shelling peas as Sphinx goes clear. HOME & HOSED: All that remains is for the winnings to be collected.
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BASHING THE BOOKIES: Celebrating a win in style with a smile. BREEDING STOCK: We bred a winning filly.
The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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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