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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 8th April 1863
Final meeting: Tuesday 23rd April 1867
The Oxfordshire village of Dorchester, on the River Thames, is located 3 miles north-west of Wallingford and approximately 8 miles south-east of the city of Oxford. Although even today the village has a population of less than 1000, it boasts its own Abbey which is a major tourist attraction and acts as the village parish church. To the north-east of the village lies Primrose Hill which was the area chosen by the South Oxford Hunt to stage their race meetings under rules. The inaugural meeting was held on Wednesday 8th April 1863 when a large crowd witnessed Mignonette win the Primrose Hill Stakes for Mr J Shrubb.  At the meeting on Wednesday 19th April 1865 the chief Steward was the Duke of Hamilton, when the opening Primrose Hill Stakes saw Mr Douglas’s Ostrich beat Hotspur and Odds or Evens. The Oxford Stakes went to Pantaloon, also owned by Mr Douglas, while the South Oxfordshire Hunt Stakes fell to Saucebox. Meetings continued for the next 2 years before the series of races finally ceased on Tuesday 23rd April 1867.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duke of Hamilton, Earl of Harrington, Lord Parker, Lord Willoughby de Broke

Principal Races Primrose Hill Stakes, Oxford Stakes, South Oxfordshire Hunt Stakes

Wednesday 19th April 1865
South Oxfordshire Hunt Stakes over 3 miles
1. Saucebox, aged horse owned by Mr H Thomas
2. Odds or Evens, aged horse owned by Mr Moore
3. Maid of all Work, aged mare owned by Mr G Tollitt

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1895 map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 23rd April 1867.

Course today On Primrose Hill.
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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