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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 13th May 1829
Final meeting: Tuesday 7th June 1870
The Hertfordshire city of St Albans first held racing on Wednesday 13th May 1829 on Noman’s Common Land, 3 ½ miles from the centre on a course of length 1 ½ miles with a half mile straight run-in. This launched their entry into racing and they went on to hold a prominent position in the annual Racing calendar. Although the very first steeplechase to be run in the country took place between Harlington and Wrest Park in 1830, the St Albans Steeplechase of 1831 followed swiftly afterwards and was won by Moonraker, described as ‘a good animal, a tremendous puller with great powers of fencing and the best winded horse in the world’. Moonraker went on to win again in 1832, this time defeating Grimaldi by half a length. The racecourse then stretched from Ellen Brook Green, on the Hatfield Road, to a winning post at what was Thomas Coleman’s stable yard at the junction of Victoria Street and Latimer Road. The 1833 St Albans Steeplechase was on a course stretching from Tyttenhanger House to Beaumont’s Farm, with the winner Antelope defeating Skyscraper. In 1834 the St Albans Steeplechase was won by The Poet, ridden by the famous jockey Jem Mason, who was owned by the Reverend Lord Frederick Beauclerk, the Vicar of St Michael’s Church in St Albans. Ironically, the horse had to run in the name of Mr Brand because it was thought the Bishop of St Albans might object to a horse running in the name of a Vicar. The 1836 running of the St Albans Steeplechase was commemorated by a set of 4 prints and shows the horses starting at Harpendenbury and finishing near to Gorhambury Lodge, adjacent to St Michael’s Church. The winner was Grimaldi, ridden by Captain Becher, but the horse collapsed just passed the winning post and died.  A poem about Grimaldi was written by The Honourable Frederica Beauclerk
Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day
That cost thy life, my gallant gray.
The racers pass the eager throng,
They shout, Grimaldi’s won a head!
But in this world what joy lasts long?
Ah, woe is me-Grimaldi’s dead!
Racing returned briefly to St Albans in 1867 before the final meeting was held on Tuesday 7th June 1870.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Rutland, Lord W Lennox, Lord George Bentinck
Principal Races

St Albans Steeplechase, No Man's Land Stakes, St Albans Silver Cup

Wednesday 13th & Thursday 14th May 1829

St Albans Town Purse over 2 miles
1. Pilot owned by Mr Bulkeley
2. Sally of the Valley owned by Mr Coleman
3. Kean owned by Mr Jones

Steeple Chase Stakes over 2 miles and 2 hurdles
1. Tom owned by Mr C F Barclay
2. Tamarangue owned by Mr Codrington
3. Royal Oak owned by Mr Dupree

No Man’s Land Stakes over a mile
1. Theresa owned by Mr Sowerby
2. Constance owned by Lord W Lennox
3. Unnamed colt by Orville owned by Mr Edwards

St Albans Silver Cup over a mile
1. Constance owned by Lord W Lennox
2. Ebony owned by Mr Collins

Wednesday 15th May 1831
St Albans Cup Stakes twice round and the distance
1. Coroner, 7 year old owned by Mr Sowerby
2. Suffolk Punch, 4 year old chestnut colt owned by Lord Ongley
3. De Vere, brown colt owned by Mr Shard

Racing returned briefly to St Albans in 1869, but the final meeting was held on Tuesday 7th June 1870.

Course today

The Common now has two golf courses, Wheathampstead and Aldwickbury, on some of the land which once housed the racecourse.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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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