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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 10th June 1835
Final meeting: Thursday 2nd June 1864
Reigate, at the foot of the North Downs, is a market town in Surrey boasting a medieval castle. The first record of racing in the town was a two day meeting on Reigate Common beginning on Wednesday 10th June 1835, with local dignitaries gathering at The Swan, whose Landlord acted as the Clerk of the Course. The course itself was flat and about 6 furlongs in circumference. The feature race, the Reigate Gold Cup, was won by Cannon Ball at the inaugural meeting. At that same meeting a local businessman, David Robertson, sponsored his own Gold Cup event which was won by Olympic owned by Mr Maston. Three years later, at the meeting on Wednesday 6th June 1838, the Reigate Gold Cup was won by Olympic, now owned by David Robertson. Racing continued annually for the next 26 years before a final meeting on Thursday 2nd June 1864.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons David Robertson, Captain Fairlie, Captain Becher, Captain Tourle
Principal Races Reigate Gold Cup, David Robertson Gold Cup, Surrey Plate, Reigate Hunting Gold Cup, Reigate & Burstow Harriers' Cup

Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th June 1835

Reigate Gold Cup worth 110 Sovereigns over 1 ½ miles
 1. Cannon Ball owned by Captain Fairlie and ridden by Captain Becher
2. Speculation owned by Mr T Bainbridge and ridden by Captain Tourle
3. Agnes owned by Mr Kemble and ridden by Mr Heysham

David Robertson Gold Cup over 1 ½ miles
1. Olympic owned by Mr Marston
2. Nashenden owned by Mr Wickham
3. Shylock owned by Mr W Day

The Reigate & Burstow Harriers’ Cup over 1 ½ miles
1. Little John owned by Mr John Turner
2. Lavender owned by Mr E Stenning
3. Hap owned by Mr Ede

The Hack Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Tiara owned by Mr Moss
2. Little John owned by Mr John Turner
3. Glenlie owned by Mr Spencer

In 1835 the name of Reigate Races became embedded in a court case and subsequent miscarriage of justice. On 16th July 1835 Mr Jonathan May travelled from Sowton Barton, where he lived, to Dunsford to attend the Fair at Moretonhampstead. At the Fair he sold some cattle and then went to the White Hart at Moreton, owned at the time by Samuel Caun. He was at the Inn until 10pm when he left on horseback. An hour and a half later, barely ¼ of a mile from Moreton, he was found by Nicholas Taverner badly beaten. He had been robbed of his pocket book and pocket watch, although two £5 notes were still concealed in his pocket. He was taken by cart to Moreton, but he died from his injuries the next evening. Four months later a felon, Elizabeth Harris, was sentenced to 7 years transportation for a separate crime and claimed that she had witnessed the murder of Jonathan May and provided details of how Buckingham Joe (aka Thomas Oliver) and Edmund Galley (also known as Turpin) had carried out the murder. Edmund Galley was arrested and sent to Coldbath-field Prison to await trial. When questioned he said that he had been to Reigate Races in July 1835, and thence to Lee Races, and that he had never been to Devonshire. He further claimed that he did not know Buckingham Joe. Despite this a court case followed, although little concrete evidence was brought against Galley, but plenty was given to link Thomas Oliver (Buckingham Joe) to the crime. Both Oliver and Galley were found guilty and sentenced to hang. As the judge was passing sentence Thomas Oliver interrupted him and swore that Galley was not involved, even naming the murderer as Kentish Youth. Oliver was hanged and Edmund Galley was transported to Australia where he suffered years of hard labour. Forty years later, on Friday 25th July 1879, the House of Commons debated his case and he was given a free pardon and awarded just £1000 compensation.

Wednesday 6th June 1838

Reigate Gold Cup for Hunters
1. Olympic owned by Mr Robertson

Reigate Racing Gold Cup
1. Olympic owned by Mr Robertson

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that racing took place at Reigate on the banks of the River Mole for a 2 day meeting in the first week of June. Whyte records the June 1839 races as:-
Reigate Gold Cup;
The Surrey Plate;
Reigate Hunting Gold Cup;

The final meeting took place on Thursday 2nd June 1864.
Course today A flat course of just 6 furlongs on Reigate Common.
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    
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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