STOCKTON RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 4th September 1721
Final meeting: Tuesday 16th June 1981
The first recorded 3 day meeting in the County Durham town of Stockton was at The Carrs from Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th September 1721, with newspaper details shown below. From that date to the final closing of the course in 1981 the names interchanged between Teesside Park and Stockton Racecourse. By the middle of the 18th century meetings had extended to four days, with the 1752 meeting being particularly famous. On the first day, Tuesday 1st September the £50 Purse was won by Mr Tilly’s Steady; on the second day, Wednesday 2nd September the Sweepstake was won by Mr George Scarfield’s chestnut gelding; on the third day, Thursday 14th September the 4 year old race was won by Smiling Molly for Mr Pearson; while on the concluding day Friday 15th September the £50 Purse was won by Mr Hudson’s Black Legs. Fifteen days racing for the price of four, because it was at the very time when the calendars were changed! Racing continued intermittently, meetings seldom attracting top quality horses, meetings often cancelled due to flooding, and the management always wishing the crowds were larger.  In 1838 the land on which the racecourse stood was bought by developers and many thought that would be the end of racing in the town. However, a new site was found at Tibbersely, which opened in August 1839 with the feature Stockton Gold Cup going to Beeswing.  However, by 1846 that course had closed and a new one was sought. Stockton racecourse moved to its final home at Mandale Bottom Marshes on a 1 ¾ mile course which, in its later days, enjoyed the benefit of two grandstands. The inaugural two day meeting was held on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th September 1855, the card opening with the Mandale Trial Stakes which was won by Mr T Dawson’s Caledonian. The Stockton Handicap went to Mr John Osborne’s Yorkshire Grey; the Cleveland Stakes to Mr Harland’s Mirage, and the Middlesbrough Handicap to Mr R L’Anson’s Assayer. Stockton Grand Stand Company was formed in 1859 with the aim of leasing new land, building better facilities and putting the course on a firmer footing. The course closed between 1915 and 1917 during the First World War, but received a boost during the Second World War when it was allowed to stage racing, so ensuring northern trainers could continue to operate without the need to send their charges on long journeys to Newmarket. The meetings became known as Teesside Park in 1967 when National Hunt racing was introduced on Saturday 25th March 1967, and continued to be known as Teesside for 12 years until a final card on Thursday 8th November 1979, whence it reverted to Stockton Races for its final 2 years of existence. The final days racing was held on Tuesday 16th June 1981, although after racing under rules had ceased the track was used by the South Durham, Hurworth and Cleveland Hunt Groups in 1985 and 1986 when, once again, the Teesside name was used.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duchess of Kent, Mr John Osborne, Lord Surrey, Sir Thomas Dundas, General Lambton, Sir R Winn

Principal Races Stockton Gold Cup, Cleveland Stakes, Stockton Handicap

The newspaper extract below is shown courtesy of the Newcastle Courant and British Library Online.

Wednesday 11th September to Friday 13th September 1782

Stockton 10 Guineas Sweepstake over 2 miles
1. Mayfly owned by Sir Thomas Dundas
2. Priscilla owned by Mr Sleigh
3. Unnamed colt by Goldfinder owned by General Lambton
The winner was 2/5 favourite and wore White with Scarlet spots.

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 16th June 1981.
Course today Initially at The Carrs, then Tibbersely and on to a 1 ¾ mile course on Mandale Bottom Marsh.

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

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com

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

Club Stand 1934 1944 1955
1959 1961 1962 Gents 1964 Gents
1965 Gents 1965 Day Ticket 1967 Ladies 1967 Gents
1968 Gents 1970 Gents 1971 Gents 1971 Ladies
1972 Ladies 1972 Gents 1973 Gents 1974 Gents
1975 Gents 1976 Gents 1977 Gents 1978 Gents
1979 Gents 1980 Ladies 1981 Gents 1981 Ladies
     
       

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com 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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