Aintree racecourse;Ascot;Ayr;Bangor;Bath;Beverley;Brighton;Carlisle;Cartmel;Catterick;Cheltenham Festival;Chepstow;Chester;Doncaster St Leger;Epsom Derby;Exeter racecourse;Fakenham;Folkestone;Fontwell Park;Glorious Goodwood;Hamilton Park;Haydock Park;Hereford Racecourse;Hexham;Huntingdon;Kelso;Kempton Park;Leicester;Lingfield;Ludlow;Market Rasen;Musselburgh;Newbury Racecourse;Newcastle;Newmarket;Newton Abbot;Nottingham;Perth;Plumpton;Pontefract Racecourse;Redcar;Ripon;Salisbury;Sandown Park;Sedgefield;Southwell;Stratford;Taunton;Thirsk;Towcester;Uttoxeter;Warwick;Wetherby;Wincanton;Windsor;Wolverhampton;Worcester;Yarmouth;York Ebor

Earliest meeting: Tuesday 29th May 1849
Final meeting: Thursday 2nd May 1974
When Ashford racecourse closed in 1840 it seemed likely that this region of Kent would be without a racecourse. However, within 8 years another meeting was staged between Ashford and Wye in fields adjoining the works of the South Eastern Rail Company on Monday 10th July 1848. Within a year the first recorded meeting took place at Wye Racecourse at The Crown, a local landmark feature in the hillside, on Tuesday 29th May 1849 on a flat piece of ground on the Downs. The course extended to 1 ¾ miles with a 6 furlong straight run in. The meeting continued to offer flat racing at this venue, but gradually added hurdle races to the programme, operating at the same course for almost 30 years. On Wednesday 29th May 1878 the last flat race at Wye was staged when the 5 furlong Olanleigh Towers Handicap Plate was won by the aptly named Maid of Wye. By then the meeting had moved to what was to become its permanent home at Harville Farm, next to Wye railway station, on a course which was less than one mile round and more suited to a greyhound track than a racecourse. In 1925 the Farm was purchased by John Long, and he and his family ran the course as a private business, passing it down through the family via son Bedo and grandson Philip. Wye could never be classed as the ideal preparation for a tilt at the Champion Hurdle, but nevertheless some horses did use it as a preparation for the big race. In March 1970 the Deal Hurdle was won by Escalus, owned by the Queen Mother, and then went on to contest the Champion Hurdle, finishing a creditable third behind Persian War. The final National Hunt meeting took place on 2nd May 1974.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr B Land, Mr B Sherratt, Mr C Formby
Principal Races Wye Centenary Chase, Wye Sweepstake

Wednesday 30th May 1855

Wye Mile and a Half Sweepstakes
1. Vestige owned by Mr B Land
2. Merrythought owned by Mr Sherrard
3. Evening Star owned by Mr Barling

Wye Auction Sweepstakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Grey Chicken owned by Mr B Land
2. Lady Blanche owned by Mr Formby
3. The Doctor owned by Mr Barling

Wye One Mile Sweepstakes
1. Dartford owned by Mr B Land
2. Prevarication owned by Mr B Sherrard
3. Diminutive owned by Mr C Formby

The photo below shows a massive crowd enjoying Wye races on 31st May 1871. Results from the meeting are shown below the photo.

Wednesday 31st May 1871
Ashford Cup over 1 ¾ miles and 7 hurdles

1. Crown Piece, 4 year old owned by Mr J Mannington and ridden by C Smith
2. La Martiniere, 5 year old owned by Mr Burton and ridden by Marsh
3. Guiscard, 5 year old owned and ridden by Mr Bontus
Betting: 3/1 Crown Piece, La Martiniere, 6/1 Guiscard

Wye Handicap over 1 ½ miles
1. Merman, 4 year old owned by Mr E Beard and ridden by Mordan
2. Little Fairy, 4 year old owned by Mr H Wright and ridden by Newhouse
3. The Little Drum, 4 year old owned by Mr W Bevill and ridden by Wyatt
Betting: 2/1 The Little Drum, 4/1 Little Fairy, 10/1 Merman

Godmersham Park Stakes over 4 furlongs
1. Admiration, bay gelding owned by Mr J Nightingall and ridden by Wyatt
2. Activity, bay filly owned by Lord St Vincent and ridden by G Jarvis
3. Stilts, bay filly owned by Mr T Stevens and ridden by Payne
Betting: Evens Admiration, 5/2 Stilts, 7/1 Activity

Welter Stakes over 6 furlongs
1. Disdain, 3 year old owned by Lord St Vincent and ridden by Mr W Bevill
2. Delusion, 3 year old owned by Mr H Wright and ridden by Marsh
3. Symphony, 3 year old owned by Mr G Weaver and ridden by H Jackson
Betting: 5/2 Disdain, 100/30 Delusion, 5/1 Golsple

On Monday 21st March 1955 the Tote introduced a new bet at Wye called the ‘reversed forecast’. With the Lincolnshire Handicap just two days away, and the Grand National completing the Spring Double at the end of the week, eagle-eyed punters were attracted to the new bet on the first race, the Wye Hurdle.
Wye Hurdle (£137) over 2 miles
1. Cape Herion (6/1) ridden by J Wibberley
2. Cheerful Aspect (5/1)
3. St Blazey (8/1)
4. Percy Piggott (Evens f)
5. The Till (100/7)
6. Rolling Stone (20/1)
7. Paoli II (25/1)
The winner was trained by Marks and owned by Mr R Hurst

The rare Members badge shown opposite was for six meetings for the entire 1957 season, although the typical fare the Members bought into was similar to the mundane racing on a miserable Monday as shown below. Large fields, small prize money and infrequent wins by favourites.
Monday 28th October 1957
Chatham Selling Handicap (£137) over 2 miles

1. MONSIEUR EGBERT (25/1) ridden by J Beasty
2. BOBY IV (10/1) ridden by Mr J Leigh
Hythe Handicap Steeplechase (£136) over 2 miles
1. CLAREVILLE (7/2) ridden by H T Cross
2. CHARLIE BOY III (8/1) ridden by R E Jenkins
Torrington Handicap Hurdle (£101) over 2 miles
1. SPECIFIC (5/2) ridden by J Beasty
2. KUMAST KING (100/8) ridden by R Martin
East Kent Handicap Steeplechase (£136) over 3 miles
1. FEZZAN (11/2) ridden by R G F Kindersley
2. CLAPPER (9/4) ridden by A Grantham
Northam Novices Hurdle (£102) over 2 miles
1. BLUE DOLPHIN (6/4 fav) ridden by Mr E Cazalet
2. ROBERTSON (7/2) ridden by R A Carter
Maidstone Novices Steeplechase (£102) over 2 miles
1. DELMACARE (100/30) ridden by C Chapman
2. YERBAMA (4/1) ridden by A Grantham

Wye a.JPG (52220 bytes) wye 1962.JPG (25354 bytes)
Wye East Kent Club.JPG (7311 bytes)
The final National Hunt meeting took place on Thursday 2nd May 1974, but Flat racing finished at the course in 1878.
Course today

Initially at The Crown and then at Harville Farm adjacent to the railway station.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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

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