SANDBACH RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 28th September 1824
Final meeting: Wednesday 28th September 1853
The Cheshire market town of Sandbach is a parish in Cheshire East which also includes Elworth, Eltiley Heath and Wheelock. Although it is better known today as a busy M6 motorway service station, back in the 19th century it was busy for a more pleasureable reason for almost 30 years as a thriving racecourse. One of the earliest records was a two day meeting from Tuesday 28th to Wednesday 29th September 1824 when the feature race was the Silver Cup valued at 20 Guineas, with £50 added. It was restricted to horses belonging to the 2nd Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry, and was won by Mr Joynson’s Trap, who beat the Mr Buckley pair of Mouse and Fanny. The Sporting Magazine of 1839 recorded that a 3 day steeplechase meeting took place from Monday 10th September to Wednesday 12th September 1839. At that meeting the Somerford Park Stakes saw Mr Walmsley’s Catamaran beat Valentine and Aimwell, claiming the Sandbach Town Plate 2 days later with the same horse. The Betchton Cup was won by Duenna for Mr Godwin, with the Betchton Hurdle going to Lady for Mr Hodgson. Remarkably, Mr Walmesly captured the same two races in September 1840, although this time it was with Query. The final meeting took place on Wednesday 28th September 1853.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Lamb, Mr Hodgson, Mr Stevenson, Mr Walmesley, Mr Blake
Principal Races Middlewick Hurdle, Somerford Park Stakes,Betchton Hurdles Stakes, Pottery Stakes, Sandbach Town Plate, Congleton Stakes

Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th September 1839

The Crewe Park Stakes over 2 ¼ miles
1. Sarah owned by Mr Blake

The Cocked-Hat Hurdles Stakes over 1 ½ miles and hurdles
1. Defence owned by Mr Hoxley

The Somerford Park Stakes over 2 ¼ miles
1. Catamaran owned by Mr Walmsley
2. Valentine owned by Mr Hornby
3. Aimwell owned by Mr Knaresborough
4. Gardham owned by Captain Lamb
5. The Member owned by Mr Knight
6. Normanby owned by Mr Blake
7. Volusia owned by Mr Roberts

The Wide-Awake Stakes over 1 ½ miles and hurdles
1. True Blue owned by Mr Stevenson
2. Gamecock owned by Mr W.R.Court
3. Sarah owned by Mr Blake
4. Miss Fanny owned by Mr W.R.Court
5. Duenna owned by Mr Godwin

The Congleton Stakes over 2 ¼ miles
1. Columbine owned by Mr Barker
2. Ludford owned by Mr Kieran

The Betchton Cup over 1 ½ miles and hurdles
1. Duenna owned by Mr Godwin
2. True Blue owned by Mr Stevenson
3. Sarah owned by Mr Blake
4. Lansquenet owned by Mr James

The Sandbach Town Plate over 2 ½ miles
1. Catamaran owned by Mr Walmsley
2. Columbine owned by Mr Barker
3. Normanby owned by Mr Blake

The Betchton Hurdles Stakes over 3 miles
1. Lady owned by Mr Hodgson
2. True Blue owned by Mr Stevenson
3. General owned by Mr W R Court
The winner was ridden by Temple

Tuesday 15th & Wednesday 16th September 1840

The Middlewick Hurdle Stakes over 2 miles
1. Mary Wood owned by Mr Wadlow
2. Lansquinet
3. Spring Flower

The Somerford Park Stakes over 3 miles
1. Query owned by Mr Walmesley
2. Accident

The Pottery Stakes over 2 miles
1. St Leonard owned by Mr Ogden
2. Defence owned by Mr Peace
3. Judy Callaghan

The Wide-Awake Hurdle Stakes over 2 miles
1. Defence owned by Mr Peace
2. Duenna owned by Mr Parker

The Congleton Stakes over 3 miles
1. Duenna owned by Mr Parker
2. Sir Edward owned by Mr Boote

Sandbach Town Plate over 3 miles
1. Query owned by Mr Walmesley
2. St Leonard owned by Mr Ogden

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 28th September 1853.
Course today The course was located less than a mile from the town, passed the Town Pump, located between Gawsworth Drive and the Old Tudor Cottage, which dates from 1570 and lays claim to being Sandbach’s oldest building. Today the former racecourse is covered by a housing estate.
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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