|Sedgefield Racecourse History
Although the earliest report of racing in the vicinity of Sedgefield was in late 1732, with a newspaper article advertising the races in 1733 result shown below, a Galloway race did take place in 'Sigfield' on 15th February 1732 when won by Captain Worlock's Cloudy, and this is likely to have referred to Sedgefield, but it was to be a further 80 years before Ralph Lambton, an ancestor of the Earl of Durham, formed a Hunt Club in 1804 which met at the Hardwicke Arms in Sedgefield. The first occasion that Lambton Park races took place was on Thursday 18th October 1821, continuing for the next five years before a final meeting on Tuesday 25th October 1825. Racing then lapsed in the area before the present day racecourse was laid out in 1846 on the Sands Hall Estate, home of the Ord family. The course was held in such high esteem at this time that it was called the 'Melton of the North' in the same way York today is referred to as the 'Ascot of the North'. Although meetings ceased from 1915 due to the War, racing resumed in 1920, but it proved to be a sad year for the course because of the death of Richard Ord, owner of Sands Hall. Ultimately, in 1927 this led to the formation of the Racecourse Company which still runs the course today. The highlight of its racing year is the Durham National, currently contested each October over 3 ¾ miles, which has been won in the past by Aintree heroes Red Alligator and Rubstic. Results of the great race since 2000 are shown below. Currently the course hosts 20 fixtures annually.
Thursday 18th October 1821
|Sedgefield continues to thrive today, whereas nearby Bishop Auckland closed its gates for the final time in 1769.
The earliest record of a meeting in the vicinity of Bishop Auckland was on 3rd March 1662 when a 3 race card was staged on Hunwicke Moor with Mr Davidson’s ‘nag’ winning the first race. Bailey’s Racing Register began including results from Bishop Auckland in 1728 when the Plate was won by Mr Gallant’s Smiling Tom on 2nd July. However, the meeting attempted in October 1754 gave an indication of the difficulties of staging races in the town. On 13th October, despite offering a £50 prize, there were no takers, so the meeting was rescheduled to 31st October when, once again, there were no takers. There are limited records of successful meeting taking place between 1756 and 1769 as it appears that the gentry had withdrawn their support. This led to a vacuum which was filled with undesirables taking control of meetings and eventually a programme of flapping races.
Tuesday 2nd July 1728
|I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1861 map shown below.
|The pre-Second World War badge allowed its owner to attend 5 meetings in the year. However, due to the outbreak of War the December meeting was cancelled. However, the results of the main race at each of the other 4 meetings are shown below:-
Wednesday 8th February 1939
2000 The Durham National was won by Mister Muddypaws (8/1), trained by Howard Johnson and ridden by Tony Dobbin 7 ran
2009 The Durham National was won by Lucky Nellerie (11/2), trained by Ferdy Murphy and ridden by Michael O’Connell 9 ran
774 former courses
400 former courses
140 former courses
235 former courses
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