RICHMOND RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 17th September 1669
Final meeting: Friday 7th August 1891

The first record of racing taking place in the Yorkshire town of Richmond was in 1669. The two-day meeting was held on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September 1669 when the Richmond £50 Plate and £20 Plate were contested. The meeting was extended to a five day affair the next year with similar Plates being contested from Monday 15th to Friday 19th September 1670. The London Gazette advertised the meeting in conjunction with a fair which took place on 13th September 1670. On 17th September 1670 the Plate of 50 Pounds was contested by the ‘best horses’, while on 19th September another Plate of above 20 Pounds was open to ‘lower prized horses.’ Baily’s Racing Register started providing detailed results from races held at Richmond in 1725 when they hosted His Majesty’s 100 Guineas (called the Hambleton 100 Guineas). It was won by Bald Peg, a son of Lister Turk, owned by Mr M Tims. The course was an oval course of a mile and a half in circumference, with a straight run in of 5 furlongs. The whole course was visible from a ‘substantial’ stone built grandstand. Many prominent racing stalwarts attended the races over more than two centuries, and once the Richmond Cup was introduced it was a highly sought after prize. On Tuesday 14th September 1762 the Cup was claimed by the Duke of Cleveland with Dainty Davey. At the September 1782 meeting the Town Purse was won by Sir R Winn’s Miracle, but what was a miracle was that it was allowed to start at 6/1 the next day when prevailing in the Richmond Cup. Meetings continued to be popular for a further century until the final two day meeting ran from Thursday 6th to Friday 7th August 1891 when the Sapling Stakes was won by Lord Hastings’ Circlet, the Handicap Plate by Mr T Lindsay’s Stalactite and the 5 furlong Wright Stakes by Lord Zetland’s Sea-View.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duke of Richmond (Lennox), Earl of Zetland, Duke of Leeds, Lord Sligo, Colonel Cradock, Sir R Winn, Colonel Radcliffe, Duke of Cleveland, Lord Rockingham, Captain Kirkpatrick, Colonel Thornton

Principal Races His Majesty's 100 Guineas, Gold Cup, Silver Cup, Richmond Handicap Stakes, Wright Stakes, Town Purse, Sapling Stakes

Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th September 1762

Richmond Cup over 2 miles
1. Dainty Davey owned by the Duke of Cleveland
2. Silvio owned by Mr Hutton
3. Syren owned by Mr Dalston

Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th September 1782

Richmond Town Purse over 4 miles
1. Miracle owned by Sir R Winn
2. Contractor owned by Mr Addison
Contractor was the beaten 4 to 1 on favourite.

Richmond Cup over 4 miles
1. Miracle owned by Sir R Winn
2. Johnny Lad owned by Colonel Radcliffe
3. Amazon owned by Mr Wetherell
Miracle was the 6/1 third favourite despite winning the previous days feature race.

Shown below is a Subscribers token for Richmond Races owned by J Stapleton Esq.

Tuesday 5th October to Thursday 7th October 1824

Richmond 20 Guineas Sweepstake over a mile
1. Canteen owned by Lord Sligo
2. Mountaineer owned by Mr Fergusson
3. Unnamed colt by Blacklock owned by Colonel Cradock

Richmond Members Plate over 2 miles
1. Rhodocantha owned by the Duke of Leeds
2. Plumper owned by Mr Husband
3. Unnamed colt by Prime Minister owned by Colonel Cradock

Richmond Gold Cup over a mile and a furlong
1. Canteen owned by Lord Sligo
2. Carnival owned by Mr Lambton
3. Rhodocantha owned by the Duke of Leeds

Richmond Silver Cup over 2 miles
1. Mountaineer owned by Mr Ferguson
2. Bos owned by Mr Orde Powlett
3. Plumper owned by Mr Husband

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that racing first took place at Richmond, some 44 miles from York, in 1762 and that 2 days of racing took place at the start of September The racecourse was on Whitcliffe Pasture, common meadow land owned by the town, which ‘affords and excellent course’. Whyte records the September 1839 races as:-
Borough Member’s Plate;
Earl of Zetland Dundas Stakes;
Richmond Gold Cup;

Thursday 6th and Friday 7th August 1891

The Sapling Stakes over 5 furlongs
1. Circlet owned by Lord Hastings
2. Syra owned by Major Stapylton
3. Queen Glencoe owned by Mr W l’Anson

The Richmond Handicap Plate over a mile and a half
1. Stalactite owned by Mr T Lindsay
2. Lady Killer owned by Mr P Buchanan
3. Folkingham owned by Marquis Talon

The Wright Stakes over 5 furlongs
1. Sea-View owned by Lord Zetland
2. Syra owned by Major Stapylton
3. Unnamed filly by St Simon owned by Mr R S Crompton

The final meeting at Richmond was a two day meeting on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th August 1891. Details of selected races are shown above.

Course today I am grateful to John Hodges for the following:- 
Richmond - the majority of the racecourse is still there, though sadly some of the grandstand (in the centre of the course) got demolished as recently as the 1960's. What remains is clearly visible just north of the town, on the other side of road from the golf club.  
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

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com 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    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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