Sligo Racecourse History
NOTE:The badges displayed on this page are not authentic and are for artistic display only.

The earliest record of racing in the vicinity of Sligo was a four day meeting at Bowmore, Rosses Point from Monday 17th to Thursday 20th September 1781. The meeting, over a 3 mile horseshoe-shaped course, opened with a race restricted to 4 and 5 year olds which was won by Intruder owned by Mr William Fenton. Full details of that inaugural 3 day meeting are given below. By 1873 the meeting had transferred to Hazlewood, near the banks of Lough Gill, on land owned by Mr John Wynne and remained there for 13 years. The inaugural meeting at the new venue, details of which are shown below, was staged on Wednesday 16th April 1873, with racing continuing at Hazelwood until 1886, when racing returned to Bowmore for 12 years. By 1898 racing had returned to Hazelwood, remaining there until the final meeting on 8th April 1942. The current course, a right-handed one mile track, at Cleveragh, three quarters of a mile from town, opened on Wednesday 24th August 1955, appropriately enough with the Cleveragh Hurdle which was won by Soloe. Currently the course hosts 8 fixtures annually.

Although Sligo remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Tubbercurry closed its gates for the final time in 1908.
The town of Tubbercurry, also known as Tobercurry, is the second largest town in County Sligo and had its own racecourse in the 19th century. The course was situated on Maxwell’s Farm in Rhue. It was a family concern but its isolated location made it a challenge for the horses, owners and trainers to travel to the track. On the outskirts of the farm is Ballyara’s Old Cemetery and the remains of Pride of Ballyara are buried in the Mullarkey family plot. The racehorse Pride of Ballyara was owned by Dr Joe Mullarkey and won many races, including a Gold Cup (not the Cheltenham one), in England. It was the time of the great Irish Famine and the philanthropic family used their winnings to purchase food for the inhabitants of Tubbercurry to prevent their starvation. Pride of Ballyara retired from racing in 1845 and went on to pull food carts loaded with grain on 50 mile round trips. Such was the high esteem in which the family held him that they used part of the family plot to bury him. Meetings continued at the track until a final card was staged on Friday 9th October 1908.
I am grateful to Google Maps (© Googlemap) for permission to use the map shown below.

Details of the earliest 4 day meeting held in the vicinity of Sligo are shown below:-
Monday 17th September 1781
Bowmore £50 race restricted to 4 and 5 year olds

1. Intruder, chestnut horse owned by William Fenton
2. Terrence, chestnut horse owned by Francis Savage
3. Fellowcraft, grey horse owned by Dan Eccles
Tuesday 18th September 1781
Sligo £50 Hunters Stakes

1. Gibazoony, chestnut gelding owned by Nicholson Ormsby
2. Elouifa, bay mare owned by Sir Booth Gore
3. Abelard, bay gelding owned by William Ormsby
Wednesday 19th September 1781
Sligo £50 Weight for Age Stakes

1. Lallage, grey mare owned by William Fenton
2. Promise, bay horse owned by Darcey French
3. Paul Jones, bay horse owned by Dan Eccles
Thursday 20th September 1781
Bowmore £50 race restricted to 6 year olds and aged horses

1. Spectator, grey horse owned by John Burke
2. Dunsandal, chestnut horse owned by William Spence
3. Gibazoony, chestnut gelding owned by Nicholson Ormsby

After almost a century of racing at Bowmore, Sligo races moved to a new location at Hazelwood, with an inaugural meeting taking place on Wednesday 16th April 1873.
Wednesday 16th April 1873
Scurry £10 Stakes

1. Tommy Dodd, brown gelding owned by Mr H P Hines
2. Jessie, chestnut mare owned by Mr J Petrie
3. Fencer, grey gelding owned by Mr H O’Rourke
Lissandell & Annaghmore Hunt Cup
1. Blarney Castle, chestnut gelding owned by Mr W Gray
2. Goldfinch, bay gelding owned by Captain Armstrong
3. Harlequin, bay gelding owned by Mr F Pollexfin
Sligo £100 Handicap Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Silken Thomas, owned by Mr Dunbar and ridden by T Miller
2. Fanny owned by Mr Darcey and ridden by Gavin
3. Banshee owned by Mr Coghlan and ridden by Mr Oldham
Hazelwood 30 sovereigns Hunt Plate over 3 miles
1. Moonlight Jack owned by Mr M Scott and ridden by Mr C Boyde
2. Conrad owned by Mr Hanley and ridden by Mr Oldham
3. Major owned by Mr C A Keogh
Midland Great Western Railway Plate (25 sovereigns)
1. Tommy Dodd owned by Mr Henry P Hines
2. Medora owned by Mr David Lynch
3. Friary Boy owned by Mr Alexander

The final meeting at Hazelwood Park was staged on Wednesday 8th April 1942.
Hazelwood £50 Handicap Hurdle over 1 ½ miles
1. Agag (6/1) ridden by Jimmy Fitzgerald
2. Trance (2/1) ridden by J Lenehan
3. Airgead Tirim (5/1) ridden by Mr E Brown
Ring £50 Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles
1. Cockasnook (4/1) ridden by J McIlroy
2. Missing Link (4/1) ridden by D L Moore
3. Clonker (2/1) ridden by Mr L McMorrow
Visitors £100 Handicap Steeplechase over 2 miles
1. Sen Toi (2/1) ridden by Mr R W Brown
2. Crafty Prince (7/4 fav) ridden by J Lenehan
3. Amorite (4/1) ridden by Mr L McMorrow

The inaugural meeting at the present day course at Cleveragh took place on Wednesday 24th August 1955 witnessed by a crowd in excess of 7000. The course was officially opened by the Mayor of Sligo Mr E Tolan who was introduced by Major A A Percival, Chairman of County Sligo Racing Limited.
Garavogue Handicap Hurdle (150 sovereigns) over 1 mile 6 furlongs
1. Soloe (5/2) ridden by P J Doyle
2. Knight Willow (4/1)
3. Baymermaid (2/1 fav)
Cleveragh Maiden (200 sovereigns) over 2 miles
1. Irish Tara (2/1) ridden by B Cooper
2. Tandy's Bridge (11/10 fav)
3. Maggie Mott (4/1)
Benbulben Handicap Hurdle (150 sovereigns) over 3 miles
1. Wary Warrior (7/2) ridden by Tom Taaffe
2. Let's Face It (7/2)
3. St Barbara (4/1)
Lough Gill Maiden Plate (200 sovereigns) over 1 mile 6 furlongs
1. Oxalis (2/7 fav) ridden by Paddy Powell
2. Rum & Cola
3. Olein’s Gift
Sligo Handicap (150 sovereigns) over 1 mile 2 furlongs
1. Glasslough Monica (1/4 fav) ridden by F Carroll
2. Dennett Valley
3. Rum & Cola
Cairns Plate (150 sovereigns) over 2 miles 1 furlong
1. Moor Lough (5/1) ridden by M Lafferty
2. Karin
3. Atlantic Roll

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

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