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Earliest meeting: Monday 22nd July 1861
Final meeting under rules: 13th April 1927
Mention the Hampshire town of Aldershot and the first thing that comes to mind is the Army. Indeed the first Flat racing to take place in the town was on the edge of the Army Camp on Aldershot Heath on Monday 22nd July 1861, and racing continued at this venue for 20 years before a final meeting on 23rd July 1881. However, prior to this spell of 'official' Flat racing there was a series of race meetings organised by the Officers in the local Garrison. The earliest record of such races was a two day meeting on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd May 1856 on an oval, one mile course with straight half mile run-in, in Long Valley near Caesar's Camp hill. The Officers borrowed the necessary equipment to stage the meeting from nearby Odiham Racecourse, and full results from the meeting are shown below, courtesy of the British Library Online. Such was the success of the meeting that a second meeting was planned some months later, although no actual race details are available. Furthermore, it is believed that a further Garrison meeting was held the next year in May 1857, although once again no firm details are available. During this spell there was a single National Hunt meeting on 12th April 1867. The land on which that first course was laid out became an Army Training ground, while a new course, the Tweseldown course situated approximately 3 miles from Aldershot near the village of Church Crookham, opened in 1884. From 1892 until 1920 Royal Artillery meetings were staged on this course, although the last official meeting under rules took place on 13th April 1927. Between 1928 and 1939 Bona Fide Hunt meetings were organised and afterwards point to point meetings took place until the final meeting on 4th March 2012.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Helyar, Captain Burke, Captain Chaplin, Captain Humphreys, Captain Morgan, Captain Willans
Principal Races Aldershot Cup, Yeomanry Steeplechase, Farnborough Cup, Military Hunt Steeplechase

The extracts shown below are from Bell's Life and the Sporting Chronicle of Sunday 25th May 1856 and are shown courtesy of the British Library Online.

As well as the final results from the two-day meeting, a further newspaper extract shows that a subscription to purchase the prizes was raised in Farnham prior to the Royal Artillery troop leaving that town and making their way to the Camp at Aldershot.

Wednesday 11th July 1866

The Farnborough Cup over 1 ¼ miles
1. Wildair owned by Captain Morgan
2. Conjuror owned by Magenis
3. Lily of the Long Valley owned by Captain Burke

The Aldershot Town Plate over a mile
1. Varnish owned by Captain Willans
2. Lightland owned by Mr Le Messurier
3. Wildair owned by Captain Morgan

Very grateful thanks to Tom Jones for providing the following details of the Aldershot racemeeting of 1878:-

ALDERSHOT CUP over 2 miles 4 furlongs
1. KENILWORTH 13 st 3 lb Mr W Hope Johnstone
2. GIL BLAS 10 st 7 lb Mr Blair
3. MOONSTONE 11 st 12 lb Mr Owen
5/4 Kenilworth 4/1 Gil Blas 4/1 Moonstone

1. LARDY DARDY 12 st Mr G Blagrave
2. DIZZY 13 st Mr Peake
3. LOUISE 11 st 7 lb Mr H B Meux
6/4 fav Lardy Dardy won by 6 lengths

1. CAMARGO 12 st 3 lb Mr Waldron
2. KILBRIDE 12 st 3 lb Mr A S Napier
3. SEMIRAMIS 11 st 8 lb Mr W J Irwin
4. JOVIAL 12 st 3 lb Mr H Brocklehurst
2/1 Semiramis 4/1 Florence 5/1 Little Monkey 6/1 Camargo

1. RAINBOW 12 st Mr F G Blair
2. BESS 12 st Captain Helyar
3. ALLAN-A-DALE 12 st Mr Gough
6/4 fav Rainbow 3/1 Wild Wind 5/1 Little Gun

Monday 22nd July 1861
The Farnborough Cup over 1 mile
1. Audrey, 5 year old brown mare owned by Major Johnson, 9th Lancers
2. Vesper, 4 year old bay mare owned by Captain Bland, 25th Regiment
3. Bankrupt, aged chestnut horse owned by Mr Starkey, 9th Lancers

Although the last official meeting took place on 13th April 1927, Military meetings took place up to 1939, and the course still exists, managed by the British Horse Society.

Course today Situated approximately 3 miles from Aldershot, near the village of Church Crookham, the 1884 Tweseldown course still exists today.
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

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

1916 1930 1931 1932
1933 1934 1935 1935
1936 1937 1937 1938

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

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