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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 16th September 1856
Final meeting: Tuesday 13th September 1859
The tiny Somerset village of West Harptree has a population of less than 500 and lies about 13 kilometres from Bristol and 16 kilometres from Bath. The village has a rich history and was mentioned in the Domesday Book when known as Herpetreu, which translates as ‘military road by the wood’. In the middle of the 19th century the small village held its own races on Tuesday 16th September 1856 when the feature race was the Langton Silver Cup. The beautiful course, amidst antique and sobre yew trees, was on 30 acres of Home-Field Farm in Gurney-Court owned by Mr William Jackman.  The meeting was deemed successful and repeated the next year on Tuesday 15th September when the Gurney-Court Stakes was won by Mr Tolly’s Smithmoor from Black Bess and Phantom. However, Phantom gained his revenge in the later Home Stakes. On Wednesday 1st September 1858 the opening Harptree Stakes over 2 miles was won by Perseverance, and he followed it up by winning the Gurney-Court Stakes later in the meeting. It is not surprising that he was the toast of the Ordinary held at the Crown Inn after racing. The final meeting took place on Tuesday 13th September 1859.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr William Jackman, Captain Warriner, Mr H Bateman (Steward)
Principal Races Gurney-Court Stakes, Harptree Stakes, Home Stakes

Wednesday 1st September 1858
Gurney-Court Stakes twice round and 4 flights
1. Perseverance, aged horse owned by Mr Smith
2. Gypsy Lass, 4 year old owned by Mr Chard
3. Invalid, aged horse owned by Mr Thomas

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 13th September 1859.
Course today On the 30 acres of Home-Field Farm in Gurney-Court.
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.
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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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