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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 7th April 1857
Final meeting: Wednesday 13th April 1864
The South-West county of Dorset borders Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire, with a county town of Dorchester which was made famous by the novels of Thomas Hardy. The area is well known for its close association with hunting and the Dorsetshire Hunt committee organised race meetings at Waddon Vale in the mid-1800s. Initially the meetings were billed as Dorchester up to 1856, although the April 1856 meeting was held at Waddon. From 1857 meetings were organised by the Hunt Committee and and held at Waddon Vale for the next 7 years. The inaugural meeting took place on Tuesday 7th April 1857 on a course which started at Friar Waddon Farm House and ended at the foot of Corton Hill. The course contained 16 fences, including doubles, and a stone wall. Racing was always well supported, although the final meeting under rules took place on Wednesday 13th April 1864 when the Open Steeplechase was won by Mr Bidgood’s Firefly, beating Cumberland and Centrebit. The concluding race, the Hunt Stakes, went to Mr T Spear’s Pony, defeating The Yeoman and The Slave. After 1870, when National Hunt rules regarding enclosed courses were updated, meetings became point to point meetings, with the card on Wednesday 2nd April 1879 being typical in restricting entries to horses hunted in Dorset.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Paltimore, Lord Wolverton, Hon. W H B Portman
Principal Races Waddon Vale Stakes, Corton Hill Chase, Open Steeplechase

Wednesday 13th April 1864
Waddon Vale Stakes
1. Tatum, aged horse owned by Mr Hambro
2. The Yeoman, aged horse owned by Mr H Mayo
3. The Doctor, aged horse owned by Mr Henley

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 13th April 1864.

Course today Starting at Friar Waddon’s Farm House and finishing at the foot of Corton 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 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

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.
Download an order form
  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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