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Earliest meeting: September 1668
Final meeting: Friday 11th June 1847
The earliest record of racing in Woodstock, the small Oxfordshire town located 8 miles north-west of the city of Oxford, was on Woodstock Park in 1668. The town can trace its history back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was variously known as Wodestok, Wodestock and Wodestole. In the early part of the 17th Century the town became the residence of the 1st Duke of Marlborough; he and his wife sponsored one of the first races held in the town. Woodstock Manor and Park were sold in 1652 in 5 separate lots, the largest being purchased by Sir Arthur Haselring. By September 1668 popular meetings were being held on the northern part of the Park, and by 1684 a second, larger racecourse extending to 4 miles was laid out. Records show a two-day meeting took place on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th September 1676 when the principal race was won by Lord Exeter’s Roan horse. A similar two-day meeting followed the next year on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th September 1677 when the Woodstock Gold Cup was won by Mr Edward Griffith. Annual meetings for the Gold Cup were a regular feature, and the meeting became so popular that a May meeting was also held. By 1690 a Gold Plate worth 50 Guineas, donated by Lord Lovelace, was also added to the programme and first contested on Tuesday 11th April 1690. In May 1717 a King’s Plate was held on the park, but it was not until 1733 that Baily’s Racing Register began including results from Woodstock. At that June 1733 meeting the Duchess Dowager sponsored a £50 Purse which was won by Mr Major’s Why Not.  Meetings continued to be held on a regular basis for the next century until a final card, administered by the Woodstock Yeomanry, was staged on Friday 11th June 1847, with the principal cup race falling to Sergeant Taylor’s Wilton.

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

Local Patrons Her Grace The Duchess Dowager of Marlborough, Lord Hamilton
Principal Races Her Grace, The Duchess Dowager of Marlborough’s £50 Purse

Saturday 27th June 1733

Her Grace, The Duchess Dowager of Marlborough’s £50 Purse
1. Whynot owned by Mr Major
2. Cinder-Wench owned by Mr Tuting
3. Spot owned by Lord A Hamilton

The final meeting took place on Friday 11th June 1847.
Course today A 4 mile course on Woodstock Park.
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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