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Earliest meeting: Thursday 3rd July 1828
Final meeting: Friday 26th July 1850
The Greater Manchester market town of Rochdale, on the River Roch, is located 5 miles north west of Oldham and 10 miles north east of Manchester. It rose to prominence in the 19th century as a mill town and centre for the textile industry, and during this time it held its own race meetings. The first racing was staged in 1828 when a 2 day meeting took place on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th July. On the first day the Gold Cup was won by Mr Thompson’s Orthodox, beating Percy and Deposit, while on the Friday the Silver Cup saw Miss Tramp beat Wrexham Lass. It was deemed a success and was quickly followed by a 3 day meeting from Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd July 1829 the next year. At that meeting the Werneth Stakes was won by Mr Gibbeson’s Murphy who also captured the Rochdale Gold Cup the next day.  It was not until 1831 that the meeting was included in Baily's Racing Register. The final meeting took place on Friday 26th July 1850, although in the early 20th century the Rochdale Hunt held point to point meetings on a 3 mile course at Thornham.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Mr T F Dearden, Mr Gibbeson, Mr Houldsworth

Principal Races

Rochdale Gold Cup, James Dearden Silver Cup, Werneth Stakes, Hunters Stakes

Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd July 1829

The Werneth Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Murphy owned by Mr Gibbeson
2. Pluralist owned by Mr Williams

The James Dearden Silver Cup over 2 miles
1. President owned by Mr E Grundy
2. Miss Tramp owned by Mr T F Dearden
3. Jack Ashton owned by Mr Clegg

Rochdale Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Murphy owned by Mr Gibbeson walked over

Rochdale Hunters Stakes over 2 miles
1. Cheshire Cheese owned by Mr E Clegg
2. Nimrod owned by Mr Clarkson
3. Huntsman owned by Mr R Williamson

The Silver Gilt trophy shown opposite had a height of 18 inches and was the prize for the Military Cup, confined to Yeomanry Members and other armed service personnel, run at the two day Rochdale on 20th and 21st August 1845.
Wednesday 20th August 1845
Rochdale Military Cup (25 Guineas)
Twice round and the distance

1. Alice owned by Mr J Butterworth
2. Cordelia owned by Mr R Rayner
3. Bando owned by Mr T Prockter
4. Merry Legs owned by Mr J P Hopwood

The final meeting took place on Friday 26th July 1850
Course today A 3 mile course at Thornham.
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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  Quantity Cost
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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