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Earliest meeting: Thursday 6th July 1727
Final meeting: Thursday 14th March 1850
The Lancashire city of Preston is on the north bank of the River Ribble and first staged racing as early as Thursday 6th July 1727 on Preston Moor. A second meeting was held that same year on Thursday 7th September 1727 when Miss Neesham got the better of Lord Molyneux’s Foxhunter in the Pulteny £50 Plate. The city boasted an impressive list of supporters, including Lord Derby after whom the famous Epsom classic is named. However, in 1786 there arose some political differences between the Earl of Derby and Preston Corporation, so a new course was used at Fulwood Moor, the start being marked by a large stone which is still in place today. Fulwood Moor was part of land that had been occupied by Oliver Cromwell’s right wing at the battle of Preston, August 1648. By 1822 the meetings were billed as Preston Guild Races and at the meeting on Saturday 7th September 1822 the Preston Gold Cup over 2 miles became a Match between Mr Ferguson’s Jonathan (4/5 fav) and Sir W Wynn’s (Belmont (Evens), with the favourite prevailing. Meetings were held annually for over 100 years until the 1833 meeting, after which racing lapsed for 9 years, but on its return it was again billed as the Preston Guild meeting. At the 2 day relaunch meeting on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September 1842 Mr King’s Atalanta won the Stewards’ Purse and the Holme Plate, while the Preston Guild Cup went to Collina. The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th March 1850.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Derby, Sir T Stanley, Lord Sligo, Lord Grosvenor, Lord Strange, Honorable J S Barry, Sir Hesketh Fleetwood, Sir G.Strickland, Mr Pulteney
Principal Races Gold Cup, Produce Stakes, Borough Members Plate

July 1727

Preston 40 Guineas Plate
1. Milkmaid owned by Mr Witty
2. Hopewell owned by Mr Fletcher
3. Molly-in-the-Moor owned by Mr W Wynn

Sunday 7th September 1727

Pulteney £50 Plate
1. Miss Neesham owned by Mr Brewster
2. Foxhunter owned by Lord Molyneux
3. Catwell owned by Mr Cresswell

In 1731 at Preston Races a precedent was set which was to have lasting consequences. The Local Stewards, at that point in time called ‘Founders’ decided to award a race to Mr Myddleton’s horse, but Mr Smith laid claim to the race and declared that he would appeal to the ‘Judgement of Newmarket’. Given that this was 19 years before the institution of the Jockey Club in 1750, it was important because Newmarket was already being viewed as the supreme authority on racing matters.

Monday 13th to Thursday 16th September 1762

Preston 2 mile Purse
1. Yorkshire Jenny owned by Mr Viver
2. Unnamed filly owned by Mr Homes
3. Brown Betty owned by Lord Strange
Yorkshire Jenny was beaten into 4th place by the unnamed Mr Holmes filly in the first heat, but went on to claim victory in the next two heats.

Preston 4 mile Match
1. Spinner owned by Honorable J S Barry
2. Black Legs owned by Mr Wentworth

I am grateful to John Booth for providing useful information on Doctor Syntax.
Preston racecourse’s most famous racehorse was Doctor Syntax who won 36 races in a career spanning from 1814 to 1823. He won the Preston Gold Cup on 7 consecutive occasions, as well as the Richmond Gold Cup 5 times and the Lancashire Gold Cup 5 times. He was equally successful when he retired to his stud career in 1824 and went on to live to the ripe old age of 27, dying on 28th August 1838. A well-known Preston public house was named in his honour, although it is now a Chinese restaurant which has not retained the name Doctor Syntax.
Wednesday 12th July 1815 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 4 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Rinaldo and Waterloo
Wednesday 10th July 1816 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 5 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Filho da Pata and Rinaldo
Wednesday 9th July 1817 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 6 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Silenus and The Duchess
Wednesday 15th July 1818 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 7 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat The Duchess and Tagus
Wednesday 7th July 1819 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 8 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Lord Derby’s Brontes
Wednesday 12th July 1820 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 9 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Lord Stamford’s Comet and Sir Walter
Wednesday 11th July 1821 The Preston Gold Cup was won by the 10 year old Doctor Syntax, owned by Mr Riddell, who beat Reveller and Fair Helen
Monday 5th August 1822 The Preston Gold Cup was won by Reveller who defeated Doctor Syntax into second place

Tuesday 13th – Thursday 15th July 1824

Preston Produce Stakes over 2 miles
1. Grildrig owned by Lord Derby
2. Portrait owned by Sir T Stanley
3. Chapeau de Paille owned by Mr Clifton

Preston Gold Cup over 3 miles 1 furlong
1. Conductor owned by Mr O Powlett
2. Etiquette owned by Lord Grosvenor
3. Skeleton owned by Lord Sligo

Preston Borough Members Plate over 3 miles 1 furlong
1. Sir Roger owned by Mr Bretherton
2. Valve owned by Lord Sligo

After a lapse of 9 years the meeting returned and was billed as the Preston Guild meeting. Its results were included in Baily's Racing Register and are shown below.
Thursday 8th to Friday 9th September 1842

The Preston Stewards Purse over 1 ¾ miles
1. Atlanta owned by Mr King
2. Temptation owned by Mr Meiklam

The Preston Guild Handicap over 1 ¾ miles
1. Collina owned by Mr Bower
2. Little Philip owned by Mr Osborne
3. Champagne owned by Mr Hornby

The Holme Plate over 1 ½ miles
1. Atalanta owned by Mr King
2. Wee Willie owned by Mr Meiklam
3. Honeysuckle owned by Mr Newsham

The Fleetwood and Strickland Borough Members’ Purse over 6 furlongs
1. Marion owned by Mr F.R.Price
2. What owned by Mr Cook
3. Atalanta owned by Mr King

The Preston Guild Cup over 2 miles
1. Collina owned by Mr Bower
2. Champagne owned by Mr Hornby
3. Wee Willie owned by Mr Meiklam

The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th March 1850.

Course today Initially on Preston Moor and then from 1786 on Fulwood Moor.
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

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:-

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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