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Earliest meeting: Monday 23rd November 1829
Final meeting: Monday 26th November 1855
Records show that racing took place in the County Meath town of Ashbourne, some 12 miles North of Dublin, as early as 1829. The town used to be called Killeglan, and the course is likely to have been laid out by M de Montmorency on the estate of Killeglan Castle which, at one time, had welcomed Oliver Cromwell. The principal race at that early meeting on Monday 23rd November 1829 was the Weight for Age Cup restricted to Hunters. After an exciting battle up front Mr Ferguson’s owner ridden grey mare was just pipped by Tom Thumb ridden by Gilbert. In 1838 the estate and Castle were owned by Thomas Carter. The meeting on Tuesday 3rd April 1832 was held at the Garrison Steeplechase course in Ashbourne and attracted an immense crowd as well as 20 entries for the big race. Although a grandstand had been erected for his Excellency, the Marquiss of Anglesey, he actually preferred to see the sport on horseback and was accompanied by his sons, Lord George and Lord Alfred. It is known that a race meeting took place in 1844 and that there was a lapse in racing until it was revived in 1855. The final meeting was held on Monday 26th November 1855.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Earl of Howarth, Sir Charles Dillon, General Dillon, Captain Armitt, Captain Jesse

Principal Races

Ward Hunt Cup, Ashbourne Whip, Ashbourne Challenge Cup

Monday 23rd November 1829

Ashbourne Weight for Age Hunters Cup
A Sweepstake of 10 Sovereigns with 25 Sovereigns added
1. Tom Thumb, bay horse owned by Mr Hassard and ridden by Mr Gilbert
2. Unnamed grey mare owned and ridden by Mr Ferguson
3. The Arabian Mare owned by Mr Urell Cole and ridden by Mr Corrigan
4. Marquis of Anglesey, owned by Mr Stephenson and ridden by Mr Mayne
5. Unnamed brown horse owned and ridden by Mr Newenham

The article below is from the Dublin Weekly Register giving results from the Steeplechase meeting at Ashbourne on Monday 12th April 1830, and is provided courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive Online.

Tuesday 3rd April 1832

Ashbourne 3 mile Sweepstake
1. Modesty, chestnut mare owned by Mr H A Saville
2. Hussar, brown gelding owned by Mr Sieveright
3. Charley, brown horse owned by Captain Vandeleur

The Pilot reported on a meeting which took place on Monday 8th April 1833 and ‘not so many of the fashionable people attended this year in comparison to previous years.’ Results from the meeting are shown below:-

Monday 8th April 1833

Ashbourne Weight for Age Stakes
1. Repealer, bay gelding owned by Mr King
2. Good Humour, bay horse owned by Mr Eiffe
3. Nora Creins, grey mare owned by Mr Savage

Ashbourne Hack Race
1. Bess the Belle, chestnut mare owned by Mr Molloy
2. Foxhunter, grey gelding owned by Mr Russell
3. Ploughboy, bay gelding owned by Mr Smith

Ashbourne Club Stakes
1. Unnamed bay horse owned by Mr Alley
2. Unnamed chestnut mare owned by Mr Jameson
3. Unnamed chestnut horse owned by Mr Colville

Ashbourne Gentleman’s Race
1. Volunteer, bay gelding owned by Mr Morgan
2. Newlight, bay gelding owned by Mr J A Sweetman
3. Beardsworth, grey horse owned by Mr Sheil

Monday 16th April 1838

Ward Hunt Cup over 3 miles
1. Gondola owned by Mr Frizell
2. Mickey owned by Mr Greene
3. The Baker owned by Mr Alley

Ashbourne Challenge Cup over 2 miles
1. Dunroe owned by Mr Milling
2. Bustle owned by Mr Yourell
3. Dudu owned by Mr Walker

Ashbourne Whip over 2 miles
1. Leander owned by Mr McEvoy
2. Zulika owned by Mr Tute
3. The Barber owned by Mr Filgate

The Dublin Weekly Reporter recorded a meeting taking place at Ashbourne on Tuesday 2nd April 1839, although the ‘attendance was meagre, the sport equally destitute of interest, and only the Horses Dudu, Dunroe and Lilly contested the match, with Dudu prevailing. The second race was between Witch, owned by Mr Kildahl, and Commodore with Witch winning.

Details of the 1842 meeting are provided courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive Online.

It is known that a race meeting took place in 1844 and that there was a lapse in racing until it was revived in 1855. The final meeting was held on Monday 26th November 1855.

Course today

On the estate of Killeglan Castle and at the Garrison Steeplechase course.

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

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 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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