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Earliest meeting: Monday 9th October 1837
Final meeting: Monday 8th October 1849

The Yorkshire village of Pickburn (Pigburn) is in the Brodsworth parish of the county, close to Doncaster. In the middle of the 19th century it was the training establishment of John Scott, and on his training ground was a racecourse. The land was owned by the Thellusson trust, the same family which owned the large house at Brodsworth, adjacent to Pigburn. They had purportedly claimed the land in 1815 as part of the Enlcosure Act and in the middle of the 19th century they leased the land on which the racecourse stood to Earl Fitzwilliam. Initially he developed it as a training facility, using Christopher Scaife as his first trainer, followed by William Clift and finally his most successful trainer John Scott. It first staged a race meeting to which the public were invited on Monday 9th October 1837, and races continued to be supported for the next 11 years. The meeting on Monday 10th October 1842 opened with a Match in which Henry Mann’s Miss Bentley got the better of Jerry Hawthorn for Mr Armstrong. The principal Pigburn Cup was won by Physician, while the closing Selling Stakes saw Henry Mann’s The Turf beat The Shadow and Balloon. A two day meeting took place on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th October 1845 when the opening Trial Stakes went to Chatsworth Lass owned by Henry Mann, while the Pigburn St Leger for 3 year olds was won by Mr J Ramsbottom’s Dudu, defeating Economy and Maid of all Work. Meetings continued to be widely reported for 3 more years, including on occasions in the Racing Calendar, until a final card was organised on Monday 9th October 1848. However, even after this date minor meetings were held, although they included Pony racing and were not included in the Racing Calendar. One such meeting took place on Monday 8th October 1849 with details shown below.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Henry Mann, Mr Joseph Vickers, Mr Tilburn (Stewards)
Principal Races Pigburn Cup, Pigburn St Leger, Pirburn Trial Stakes

Monday 10th October 1842
Pigburn Cup over 1 ¼ miles
1. Physician, bay horse owned by Mr Hickson
2. Chance, bay colt owned by Mr Moorhouse
3. The Shadow, chestnut mare owned by Mr Pearson

I am grateful to Lois Hale Fergusson for the scans of the Cup shown above. The handle is engraved G.Moorhouse, Doncaster, while the tip is inscribed ‘Won by Chance 1842’. It was acquired by a relation, and their Nan even remembers being told the of the colours worn by the jockey G Moorhouse.
Despite being beaten in the race by Physician, Mr Moorhouse claimed the race after a Stewards enquiry when Mr Fisher, owner of Benjamin who ran down the field, protested against Physician’s right to run in the race. The Stewards ruled in Mr G Moorhouse’s favour and the Cup he won is shown above.

I am grateful to Ted Robbens for the additional information on John and Bill Scott. John was born on 8th November 1794 in Cambridgeshire, the son of a former jockey who later became a trainer. Although John rode his first winner aged just 13, he became too heavy to continue a career as a jockey and began training. He moved to Middleham in 1814 under the tutorship of James Croft and within a decade he had purchased his own racing stables at Whitewall Stables in Malton. The training ground near Malton was unsuitable for training in the hot summer months, the ground being too hard, so John moved his operation to Pigburn where he trained his horses on the small racecourse in the village. The course closed in 1848 after which John built gallops at Langton Wold close to his Malton stables. In one of the most successful training careers of his day John, ably supported until 1844 by his jockey brother Bill, trained 6 Derby winners, 9 Oaks winners, 4 One Thousand Guineas winners, 7 Two Thousand Guineas winners and no less than 16 St Leger winners on his beloved Doncaster racecourse. He died at Whitewall House on 4th October 1871 and was buried five days later in Malton.

John Scott ended his successful association with Pigburn in 1851 before moving back to Malton. I am grateful to The Era (21st December 1851), the British Library Online and Ted Robbens for the article shown below.

I am grateful to the York Herald, the British Library Online and Ted Robbens for providing details of a meeting which took place on Monday 8th October 1849.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Monday 8th October 1849.
Course today On the training ground of John Scott in the village.
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

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