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Earliest Meeting: Thursday 2nd October 1718
Final Meeting: Thursday 11th October 1722
The small Leicestershire village of Somerby is located just under 10 kilometres south of Melton Mowbray. It enjoys attractive, open countryside in what today is known as ‘High Leicestershire’, but back in the early part of the 18th century that same countryside was the scene of a 2 day race meeting. Nearby Melton, famous for its hunting, was equally famous for its horse racing, so it is no surprise that Somerby hosted a race meeting which began on Thursday 2nd and concluded on Friday 3rd October 1718. The Stamford Mercury advertised the meeting widely, with an extract from the newspaper shown below, but it did not later publish the results from the event. The meeting was the brainchild of 4 local publicans who, no doubt, benefitted from the large crowds assembled for the races. A further 2 day meeting followed on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th October 1720, as indicated in the extract shown below, while a single day meeting was held on Thursday 11th October 1722 when the principal event was the Somerby £4 Plate.Whilst there may well have been meetings both before and after the stated events, there is no evidence of this in the newspapers of the day.

Local Patrons Mr Lewen, John Cant, Joyce Roberts, Robert Yates, John Rea
Principal Races Somerby £10 Plate

The newspaper extract below is shown courtesy of the Stamford Mercury and British Library Online.

The second extract is also shown courtesy of the Stamford Mercury and British Library Online.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 13th October 1720
None of the 4 pubs mentioned in the article have survived the past 300 years, although Somerby still has a pub called the Stilton Cheese.
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

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