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Earliest meeting: Monday 20th March 1727
Final meeting: Thursday 5th June 1845
One of the earliest records of a race meeting taking place in the county of Shropshire was on Prees Heath in 1600. The meeting, close to the town of Whitchurch, was held in Whit week and may have been one of many held on the Heath at the start of the century. By 1727 Whitchurch was holding regular meetings in May or June on Prees Heath, and Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from the meeting on Monday 20th March 1727 when the Plate was won by Lord Molyneux’s Collier at the expense of Witty Gelding and Merry Andrew. Races were so popular that two day meetings became the norm, and in 1782 the event ran from Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 23rd May when the Whitchurch Stakes saw Mr Felton’s Release beat Cicero and Smart, while the 4 mile Plate went to Mr Lloyd’s Druggist. Changes were afoot, and for the meeting on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th June 1789 a new course was used; entries were made at the White Lion Inn, and Mr Andrew Corbett was chief Steward. Tuesday’s Maiden Plate was won by Mr Heron’s Maid of Ely, and the next day Mr Collin’s Evergreen beat Mr Saunder’s Ohio in the main race. Races continued for over 50 years until the final 2 day meeting took place on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th June 1845, concluding with a lowly Handicap Sweepstakes which attracted just two entries and saw Mr Jones’s Persian Lady beat Mr Haworth’s Donna Anna.

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

Local Patrons Lord Molyneux, Sir N Gresley, Colonel Thornton, Captain Cotton
Principal Races Whitchurch 10 Guineas Plate, Whitchurch 2 mile Stakes

Monday 20th March 1727

Whitchurch Plate of 10 Guineas
1. Collier owned by Lord Molyneux
2. Witty Gelding owned by Mr Fletcher
3. Merry Andrew owned by Captain Cotton

2nd and 3rd June 1762

Whitchurch Purse over 2 miles
1. Pyrois owned by Colonel Thornton
2. Trial owned by Sir N Gresley
3. Speedwell owned by Mr Burston

22nd and 23rd May 1782

Whitchurch 2 mile Stakes
1. Release owned by Mr Felton
2. Cicero owned by Mr Smith
3. Smart owned by Mr Golding

Whitchurch 4 mile Plate
1. Druggist owned by Mr Lloyd
2. Coniac owned by Mr H Vernon
3. Moorpoot owned by Mr Dalton

The final meeting took place on Thursday 5th June 1845.
Course today On Prees Heath.
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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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