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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 5th June 1850
Final meeting: Wednesday 22nd June 1892
The County Durham town of Hartlepool held races in their own right before 1823, but their near neighbour West Hartlepool held their first 2 day meeting on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th June 1850. West Hartlepool was founded in the 1850s by Ralph Ward Jackson, who had been influential in bringing the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway to the area in 1839. He realised the potential that such a new transport line gave and opened seaside docks in the West of the town. The 1850 meeting was held on the sands, opening with the West Hartlepool Plate which saw Rob Roy defeat Novel and Vermicelli. The next day the valuable Ingleborough Stakes went to Elemore. Racing continued in Hartlepool until crowd sizes depleted in the 1860s. The writing was already on the wall for the future of Hartlepool Racecourse in the 1860s because of low crowds and disputes with the Corporation, so they combined with their near neighbour and renamed the meeting held on Tuesday 28th July 1863 ‘The Hartlepool and West Hartlepool Races’. It was all to no avail and racing ceased for over 20 years. Racing returned to West Hartlepool on Tuesday 1st November 1887 with a meeting on the sands which was deemed a success. The next year, on Tuesday 22nd May 1888 a meeting was held in fields at Foggy Furze when several thousand attended to see Croquet Lad beat Somebody’s Pet in the Trial Stakes. There were two meetings in 1890, the first in April 1890 and the later one in November 1890. The course was at Stranton Grange Farm Estate, near West Hartlepool, and the meetings were well supported. Racing continued for a further two years until the meeting on Wednesday 22nd June 1892, after which races were staged well into the 20th century but were of an inferior quality.

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

Earl of Durham, Marquis of Londonderry, Marquis of Talon

Principal Races Ingleborough Stakes, Trial Stakes, West Hartlepool Handicap, Cleveland Open Hunters Chase, South Durham Hunt Steeplechase

Thursday 6th June 1850
Ingleborough Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Elemore, aged horse owned by Mr S Keen
2. Sally Grey, aged mare owned by Mr Adamson
3. Novel, aged horse owned by Mr Humble

Wednesday 9th April 1890
Licensed Victuallers Steeplechase over 2 miles
1. Marske, 6 year old owned by Mr H G Don
2. Adieu, 5 year old owned by Mr W Brown
3. Gentle Annie, aged mare owned by Mr Robinson
Betting: 2/5 Adieu, 4/1 Marske, 8/1 Thalasse, 10/1 Gentle Annie

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 22nd June 1892.
Course today Early meetings were on the sands and latterly at Stranton Grange Farm Estate. A 2 mile steeplechase course at Stranton Grange, West Hartlepool.
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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