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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 31st July 1804
Final meeting: Tuesday 28th June 1881
The Hampshire city of Southampton, the largest city in the county, is located 19 miles north west of Portsmouth. The first race meeting took place on Tuesday 31st July 1804 on Southampton Common near ‘The Avenue’ and Rood Church. The course consisted of a straight course down the length of the common, and an elongated oval of circumference 12 furlongs with a dip just after the start but with a considerable hill near the finish. The only race of significance on the first day was the Southampton Cup valued at 50 guineas over 2 mile heats, which was won by Mr Branthwayte’s Ragman after three heats. In subsequent years sprints were run on the straight course which extended to 5 furlongs, and the course benefitted from a large, handsome stand which not only allowed for views across the entire course, but also enabled punters to see the hills of the Isle of Wight. The next year a three day meeting stretched from Wednesday 31st July to Friday 2nd August 1805, featuring the Southampton Cup which was won by Mr Branthwayt’s Woodcot; the Ladies Plate won by Mr Fermot’s Principle, and the Maiden Stakes sponsored by the Marquis of Lansdown which went to Mr Branthwayt’s Southton. Lord Palmerston, a keen racing enthusiast, celebrated a double at the course in August 1824, winning the Southampton Stakes with Lazbarough, and the Town Plate over 3 miles with Biondetta. Racing lapsed in the 1850s before returning in 1861, enjoying an unbroken run until the final meeting on Tuesday 28th June 1881 when the stewards were the Earl of Hardwicke and the Marquis of Angelsey.

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

Lord Palmerston, Marquis of Lansdown, South Hants Yeomanry Guards

Principal Races Southampton Cup, Ladies Plate, Town Plate, Members Plate
This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Wednesday 31st July to Friday 2nd August 1805

Southampton Cup over 3 miles
1. Woodcot owned by Mr Branthwayt
2. Wren owned by Mr Sutton

Southampton Ladies Plate over 3 miles
1. Principle owned by Mr Fermot
2. Virgin owned by Mr Abbot
3. Glorianna owned by Lord Stawell

Maquis of Lansdown Maiden Stakes over 3 miles
1. Southton owned by Mr Branthwayt
2. Wren owned by Mr Sutton
3. Peregrine Pickle owned by Mr Sadler

Thursday 12th August to Friday 13th August 1824

Southampton Town Plate over 3 miles
1. Biondetta owned by Lord Palmerston
2. Champion owned by Mr Farquharson
3. Augustin owned by Mr Fleming

Southampton Stakes over 2 miles
1. Lazbarough owned by Lord Palmerston walked over

Southampton Members Plate over 2 miles
1. Milto owned by Mr F Craven
2. Isabella owned by Mr W West
3. Unnamed colt out of Augusta owned by Mr Fleming

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that Southampton racecourse was situated on Southampton Common on land owned by the Corporation, and records the August 1839 races as :-
Southampton Stakes and Two Members Plates.

The final meeting was on Tuesday 28th June 1881 and the stewards at the meeting were the Earl of Hardwicke and the Marquis of Angelsey.

Course today A 12 furlong course with 5 furlong straight on Southampton Common.

I am grateful to John Hodges for recommending the following links:

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:-

The Hampshire Advertiser

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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