Entries by IanS

Time for a Middleham Derby

The decision of trainer Mark Johnston and owner Sheikh Hamdan to stump up the £85k to supplement Permian for tomorrow's Derby opens the door to a rare event in racing: a Derby winner trained at Middleham, in the heart of Wensleydale. Indeed, so unusual would it be that I can assure you that none of […]

Lost racecourses 10: Buckfastleigh

The ideal holiday for a National Hunt enthusiast in the late 1930s had to be a fortnight on the English Riviera, writes Ian Sutherland. It was long before the birth of summer jump racing, and August marked the start of the new season. South Devon had no fewer than five racecourses within 20 miles of […]

Lost racecourses 9: Moreton-in-Marsh

I wonder whether the Romans ever staged chariot racing during their occupation of Britain? If they did, one likely place would have been Moreton-in-Marsh, a significant mid point staging post on the Fosse Way linking Exeter and Lincoln. There was a Roman fort a mile or so outside the town, so it would have been […]

Race Histories 12: The Becher Chase

The Grand National fences have their first test of the season on Saturday, when the Becher chase is run over 3 miles 2 furlongs at Aintree. The race starts immediately after Valentines Brook, so is just shy of one and a half circuits of the National Course.

Race Histories 11: The Royal Hunt Cup

It would be nice to think that the Royal Hunt Cup was named after the Danish prog-rock band, but as the race was started in 1843 and the band more than 150 years later, that’s clearly not the case.

Race histories 10: The Dee Stakes

The Dee Stakes has long been recognised as a Derby Trial, although it is ten years since it threw up the winner in Kris Kin. It’s hard to believe then, that one winner of the race went on to win the Grand National. You won’t remember it any more than I do: the horse was […]

Lost Racecourses 7: Rugby

The old Rugby racecourse lies next to the A5, just a couple of miles east of the town itself, at Clifton on Dunsmore. Racing took place there between 1862 and 1936, with every meeting bar one taking place over the jumps.

Lost racecourses 6 – Lincoln and the Lincolnshire Handicap

For the best part of 200 years racing people knew that the first meeting of the year at Lincoln racecourse meant that the flat season was under way. Since Lincoln closed in 1964, that accolade has belonged to Doncaster, except for a couple of years recently when Catterick bagged the honour. Thankfully, in my view, […]

Lost racecourses 5 – Cheltenham Park

Until 2009 Gloucestershire was not the only place to host racing at Cheltenham. As early as 1895 the suburb of Cheltenham, about five miles north west of central Adelaide had a track known as Cheltenham Park.

Race Histories 8 – 6 Rifles B Company Novices’ Hurdle

Earlier forays into race histories have looked at some of the well known and long established races in the calendar. Today, we turn our attention to a brand new race, as we head to Taunton, where the Territorial Army is moving into new …territory. The first race at Taunton today is the 6 Rifles B […]

Lost racecourses 4 – Bedford

John Bunyan, the most famous resident of the small village of Elstow, would not have approved of racing. He had shuffled off this mortal coil in 1688, though had he been around 40 years later, there may never have been any racing at Bedford.

Lost Racecourses 3: Colwall Park – 75th anniversary of royal winner

Catch the train from Birmingham and alight at Colwall a few hundred yards after you emerge from the tunnel through the Malvern Hills. You are following in the footsteps of many of the spectators at what was one of England’s prettiest racecourses. A day trip from South Wales made the track as popular with people […]

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