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Earliest meeting: Thursday 31st August 1732
Final meeting: Thursday 13th September 1849
The Derbyshire market town of Wirksworth, on the River Ecclesbourne, today has a population of 5,000, but once had a racecourse which was certainly in existence in 1732. The ‘History of Derbyshire’ recorded that Wirksworth was the scene of an occasional race meeting, but the sport here was of a very moderate character and the events never soared above a 10 Guineas purse run for under ‘give and take’ rules. Such a race was run on Wirksmoor Moor on Thursday 31st August 1732, while the next year the meeting consisted of a 10 Guinea-purse, supplemented by a £15 Hunters Race which attracted a field of four. Meetings were held intermittently after this date, although the 2 day meeting on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th September 1824 was a complete festival. The day before the races there was a concert in the evening, and on the evening of the final day there was a Ball at the Assembly Rooms and a dinner at the Red Lion Inn. A prolonged period of racing on a new course at Carsington Pasture began in September 1846 and continued for the next 3 years. On Wednesday 15th September 1847 the Wirksworth Stakes saw Mr Taylor’s Flirt defeat Macassar and Catherine, while the Matlock Bath Stakes went to Mr H Waring’s Rosa who beat Lady Flora. Entries for the final 2 day meeting on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th September 1849 were made at the White Lion, with the Wirksworth Stakes going to Mr Hardwick. On the same day the Cavalry Stakes was reserved for horses belonging to members of the Wirksworth and Radbourn Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry and was won by Mr Matkin’s Alice Gray. The last day of racing under rules on the Carsington Pasture course was on Thursday 13th September 1849.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr R Hardwick (Clerk of the Course), Mr H Waring
Principal Races Wirksworth Stakes, Cavalry Stakes, Matlock Bath Stakes, Ashbourne Stakes

Wednesday 12th September 1849
Wirksworth Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Slip, bay gelding owned by Mr R Hardwick
2. Alice Gray, grey mare owned by Mr Matkin
3. Headlice, black mare owned by Mr Smith

The final meeting took place on Thursday 13th September 1849.
Course today Initially on Wirksworth Moor and then on Carsington Pasture.
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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