WHITEHAVEN RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 7th September 1852
Final meeting: Monday 26th May 1890
The Cumbrian port and coastal town of Whitehaven is located equidistant from Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. In the middle of the 19th century it held its own race meetings on the Harras Moor Race Ground, beginning in 1852. The inaugural two day meeting from Tuesday 7th to Wednesday 8th September opened with the Whitehaven Castle Stakes over a mile and a half which was won by Mr J J Henderson’s Needle. On the same day the West Cumberland Stakes went to Mr Jackson’s Augean, while the Whitehaven Plate was won by Morgan Rattler. The Cockermouth Stakes was the most exciting race on the second day, when The Judge got the better of Needle and Harker. Meetings continued on an annual basis until 1864, although mysteriously results were not included in the Racing Calendar in 1855. Nevertheless, a meeting was staged on Tuesday 25th September 1855 when the Whitehaven Castle Stakes was won by Mr Jopson’s Rifleman.  At the meeting on Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th October 1864 the Whitehaven Volunteers Plate went to Mr Lindsay’s Measure for Measure, while the Cockermouth Hunters Stakes was won by Mr Fearons’s Mountain Boy, but after that meeting racing ceased for 5 years. By the 1870s meetings were billed as ‘Whitehaven and Cumberland races’, offering steeplechase racing as well as flat meetings, yet they were still held on Harras Moor. The West Cumberland Meeting moved to a new steeplechase course at Whitehaven on Tuesday 23rd April 1878 when the Open Hunters' Flat Race was won by Golden Pippin, owned by the Duke of Hamilton. A famous horse of the time was Lord of the Harem who won on 21 occasions but at Whitehaven on Saturday 18th April 1885 he suffered such a bad injury that he had to be put down. The final meeting took place on Monday 26th May 1890.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Hamilton, Mr John Osborne
Principal Races Whitehaven Castle Stakes, Cockermouth Stakes, West Cumberland Stakes

Tuesday 7th September 1852
Whitehaven Plate over 2 miles
1. Morgan Rattler, bay gelding owned by Mr Lowe
2. Crabbs, aged horse owned by Mr J Henderson
3. Little Davie, brown colt owned by Mr J Osborne

The final meeting took place on Monday 26th May 1890.
Course today On Harras Moor.
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

The front cover/ principal races from this rare racecard are provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

With grateful thanks to Nick Redman for the rare Luncheon Ticket shown below.

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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