ALEXANDRA PARK RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 30th June 1868
Final meeting: Tuesday 8th September 1970
The Alexandra Park Racecourse, situated near Muswell Hill in Greater London, first held races on Tuesday 30th June 1868. Ally Park, nicknamed the Frying Pan, was a much loved and sorely missed racecourse. The pear shaped course with a stick attached is how a number of people described the course, with 2 loops coming off a single straight, and all the races except the 5 furlong events run the reverse way of the course, with starts by the winning post. However, the 5 furlong course had well-graded curves about 2 furlongs from the start. At the inaugural meeting in 1868 the Palace Handicap over 2 miles was a keenly fought affair in which Mr Hamilton’s Mexico got the better of Success. The annual members badge pass for Alexandra Park racecourse had an AP in the centre, with members belonging to MIDDLESEX COUNTY RACING CLUB. One very special badge from 1906  with membership number 174 belonged to Mr H Archer and on the reverse reads ‘KILLED IN ACTION NOV 4 1914 QGOH H. ARCHER’ which his parents had inscribed when he was fatally wounded in the War. He had been a member since 1906 and purchased his member’s badge for 1914 in the hopes that he would serve his country and return to enjoy racing at his beloved Alexandra Park. However, it was not to be and his parent’s final gesture was to inscribe his most treasured possession, his members’ badge.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Stanley, Sir E.Vincent
Principal Races

The London Cup (later transferred to Newbury), Middlesex Plate, Flying 2-y-o Plate

Tuesday 30th June 1868
The Palace Handicap over 2 miles
1. Mexico, owned by Mr Hamilton and ridden by Wyatt
2. Success, owned by Mr E Buckley and ridden by Snowden
3. Feodor, owned by Mr Samuel and ridden by Peppler

Saturday 14th April 1900

The Middlesex Plate over 1 mile and a furlong
1. Eulogy owned by Sir E.Vincent
2. Pellisson owned by Lord Stanley
3. Melito owned by Mr J.Rutherford

The London Cup Handicap over 1 ¼ miles
1. Downham owned by Mr J.Musker
2. Lackford owned by Mr G.Cottrill
3. Sheet Anchor owned by Mr G.Cottrill

The Flying 2 year old Plate over 5 furlongs
1. Winner owned by Mr W.Homfray
2. Jim Alec owned by Mr F.W.Day
3. Grace Swift owned by Mr W.Taylor Sharpe

The first meeting, held on 30th June 1868, was reported in the Kentish Gazette Tuesday 7th July 1868 and details are provided below:-

Horse racing club members badge pass for Alexandra Palace racecourse, AP to centre, MIDDLESEX COUNTY RACING CLUB 1906 around the edge. Enamelled in red, white and blue, members number 174 on reverse. Made by Bowman Ltd, 70 Goswell Rd, London. Has some chips, mainly to the white enamel, but is still in a reasonable condition. Has a feint, hand engraved inscription on the back, reads KILLED IN ACTION NOV 4 1914 QGOH(?) H. ARCHER. On checking the War graves site, this appears to be true, but is one day out.
Information supplied by Creeks Antiques, London

Famous Incident; Can you help?
David O’Neale has a number of uncles the eldest two being John and Martin ('Mick') O'Neale who were born 1908 & 1909 and apprenticed at Captain Hogg's at Russley Park, Wiltshire. Family legend has it that as an apprentice, John was in a race at Alexandra Park with Gordon Richards, who was also an apprentice, but already well known.
John went over the rails and he claimed that Gordon came alongside and pushed him out of the stirrup! His brother, Martin, then threatened Gordon (or perhaps worse - my father wouldn't say!) As a result, my uncles were not allowed to be in the same races as Gordon. Eventually, they packed their bags and spent the rest of their racing careers in India. John rode about 1,200 to 1,500 winners overall, which in India, with only one or two race meetings a week was quite impressive. He won the Pakistan Derby after partition. Even in 1920, aged just 11, he won three races in one day receiving silver trophies and a gold watch from his father as a bonus.
But what happened with Gordon? John O'Neale was, my father thought, about 17 at the time (so 1925?) and terrified of losing in case his father set about him afterwards. I am told that my grandfather had quite a temper on him at times. Consequently, some of the family believed John threw himself over the rails as he knew he couldn't win.
As Gordon Richards is such a huge name in racing, I wondered if there was any account of this story elsewhere, and did it happen at Alexandra Park?
Interestingly, John O'Neale never reckoned Gordon Richards as a jockey (1), still less as the judge of a horse, maintaining that the greatest jockey he ever saw was Charlie Elliott (champion jockey of 1923).
Can anyone shed further light on the incident, or does anyone have an Alexandra Park racecard from that period which might give an indication of the horses involved?

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 8th September 1970 and then Ally Park was no more!

Course today Muswell Hill in Greater London

The rare handbill shown below is 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

1890 1899 1900 1901
1901 1902 1903 1903
1904 1904 1905 1906
 
1910 1911  
1912 1913
1914 1915
1919 1920 1921
1922 1923
1924 1925
1926 1927 1928 1932
1933 1934 1934
1935 1936 1938
1939 1940 1947
1949 1950 1951 1952
1953 1956 1957
1959 1960
1961 1962 1963
1964 1965 1966 1967
1968 1969 1970

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.
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