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Earliest meeting: Monday 25th March 1844
Final meeting: Tuesday 18th March 1879
The Northamptonshire village of Pytchley lies just 3 miles south west of Kettering, close to the important A14 road. Associated closely with the village is the widely known Pytchley Hunt, which seems quite appropriate since the village organised its own race meetings in the early to late 1800s. While the early meetings were solely advertised as Pytchley, and are covered in a separate section, by 1844 the meetings were billed as ‘Northampton and Pytchley Hunt meetings’.  The first occasion when such a billing was broadcast was the two day meeting on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th March 1844 which opened with the Trial Stakes won by racing fanatic Mr John Day’s St Lawrence. The card consisted of 10 races over the two days, including the Althorp Park Stakes won by Mr G Ongley’s Mystery; the Northamptonshire Cup Stakes won by Mr S Scott’s Mosque, and His Majesty’s 100 Guineas Plate won by Mr Gregory’s Vitellius. However, the highlight of the meeting was the Great Northamptonshire Stakes over 2 miles which attracted 72 entries, of which an impressive 48 paid 5 sovereigns to go to post. The thrilling race was won by Mr Gregory’s Vitellius. The ‘History of Northamptonshire’ recorded that the Pytchley Hunt Steeplechases were held in both 1855 and 1856 as Grand Military events organised jointly with the Pytchley Chase group. The army had just returned from the Crimean war, and the races took place over a course extending from Cottesbrooke pastures to Brixworth Brook. The Grand Military Steeplechase was won by Horniblow and he also won the 4 mile race on the same day when ridden by Lieutenant Henry Blundell, then in the Rifle Brigade but later to become Colonel Blundell of the Grenadier Guards. In 1857 the steeplechases were contested again, although the winning field was positioned closer to Cottesbrooke. The winner of the principal event was Magnet, ridden by a French Officer named Viscount Talon, who defeated the gallant Horniblow by a neck. The Pytchley Hunt Steeplechases were run at Hopping Hill, in the parish of Maidwell, in the years from 1873 to 1879. The first of this series of meetings took place in 1873, followed by further meetings in each of the years 1875 through to 1879. One particularly impressive meeting took place in 1878 when HRH The Prince of Wales was in attendance, along with the Duchess of Teck and the Empress of Austria. The final meeting was held on Tuesday 18th March 1879.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons His Majesty the King, Lord Spencer, Lord Maidstone,Mr John Day
Principal Races His Majesty’s 100 Guineas Plate, Northamptonshire Cup Stakes, Great Northamptonshire Stakes

Monday 25th March 1844
Great Northamptonshire Stakes over 2 miles
1. Vitellius, black colt owned by Mr Gregory
2. Father Mathew, bay colt owned by Mr Berrington
3. Hooton, brown colt owned by Mr Worthington
4. Knight of the Whistle, chestnut horse owned by Lord Chesterfield
Betting: 3/1 Vitellius, 7/1 Hooton, 8/1 Areanus

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 18th March 1879.

Course today Latterly at Hopping Hill.
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:-

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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing 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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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    
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