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Earliest meeting: Monday 15th April 1867
Final meeting: Monday 21st April 1873
The County Durham town of Willington lies near to the River Wear and has neighbours Crook and Bishop Auckland. Its financial success was due to coal mining, but in the middle of the 19th century it also organised its own series of race meetings. The inaugural meeting was held on Monday 15th April 1867 on 3 fields at the south end of the village called The Batts. The Brancepeth Stakes was won by Mr John Harrison’s Topsy beating Artemns Ward and Maid of the Mill. The Crook Stakes was a match in which Lady Alice, the 1/3 favourite, easily landed the odds over Binchester Pet. The meeting was well supported, encouraging the management team to organise meetings for each of the next 6 years. In 1872 the course was bounded on two sides by the River Wear and this led to tragedy at the meeting on Monday 22nd April. During the first race a horse veered towards two spectators causing them to fall into the nearby River. They both got swept away and drowned. The final meeting was staged on Monday 21st April 1873 and was hit by tragedy once again when a racegoer was murdered.

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

Mr J Friend, Mr W C Allan, Mr P Hutchinson (Stewards)

Principal Races Willington Stakes, Brancepeth Stakes, Crook Stakes

Monday 15th April 1867
Willington Stakes over 2 ½ miles
1. Governor, bay horse owned by Mr John Harrison
2. White Socks, aged horse owned by Mr Rawes
3. Rebecca, 5 year old owned by Mr Scott

The final meeting took place on Monday 21st April 1873.

Course today Initially on The Batts and then a course next to the river.
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    
Postage & Packaging    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com