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Earliest meeting: Thursday 12th July 1753 (1737, but no results)
Final meeting: Tuesday 24th September 1850
Although no record of results exist for meeting in the town as early as 1737, it is believed that meetings did take place in Basingstoke at this time. The first meeting to be held in the vicinity of the Hampshire town of Basingstoke where results do exist was in 1753. The meeting took place on Basingstoke Downs at Kempshott, which was a country seat of the Prince of Wales, on Thursday 12th July 1753 and consisted of a number of steeplechases.  Racing continued at this venue until 1788 after which racing ceased for 23 years. In 1811 the races were re-established, when staged at the Duke of Bolton’s (the Pouletts) estate at Hackwood Park, and continued until 1829 before lapsing. In those days it was impossible for meetings to be cancelled at the last minute, a point made admirably by Jane Austen when she attended the two day meeting in 1813 when the weather was wretched. (details shown below) The meetings were some of the most high profile meetings in the country, entertaining royalty, the nobility and Honourable Members of Parliament. A case in point was the Wellington Stakes in September 1824 when Lord Palmerston’s Luzborough defeated the Duke of Richmond’s Hurly Burly. There was then a further lapse until races were revived again in 1845 and lasted for a further 5 years, with the final meeting staged on Tuesday 24th September 1850.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Prince of Wales, Lord Palmerston, Duke of Richmond, Lord Ailesbury

Principal Races Wellington Stakes, Vine Stakes, Hackwood Stakes

Thursday 12th July 1753

Basingstoke Stakes of £50
1. Trojan, a bay horse owned by Mr Bowles 1 1
2. Hasty, a grey horse owned by Mr Steward 2 2
3. Monkey, a bay horse owned by Mr Tate 3 3
4. Unnamed grey gelding owned by Mr Carver 4 4

Thursday 13th to Friday 14th June 1782

Basingstoke 25 Guineas Sweepstake over 4 miles
1. Horatin owned by the Duke of Bolton
2. Mercury owned by Major O’Kelly
3. Laburnum owned by Sir J Lade
The winner carried Orange colours, the second Scarlet with a Black cap and the third was Straw coloured trimmed with Purple.

In her writings Jane Austen records that she attended the two day race meeting at Basingstoke in October 1813 when the weather was wretched throughout both days. Results for the meeting are shown below:-
Thursday 7th October 1813
Basingstoke £50 all age Maiden Plate (twice round)

1. Lustre, brown colt owned by Mr Tate 1 3 1
2. Icicle, bay filly owned by Mr Hallet 4 1 2
3. Pompey, chestnut horse owned by Mr Pentre 5 2 4
4. Prestina, chestnut colt owned by Mr Nevill 2 4 5

Basingstoke 5 Guineas Hunters’ Stakes (twice round)
1. Lily, bay mare owned by Mr G Curtis 1 1
2. Slipper, chestnut mare owned by Mr Bugg 2 2
3. Grog, bay mare owned by Mr Fleet (distanced)

Friday 8th October 1813
Basingstoke £50 All age Handicap (twice round)

1. Caleb, bay horse owned by Mr Hallet 2 1
2. Joan of Arc, brown filly owned by Captain Page Turner 1 wdr
3. Mountbank, roan horse owned by Mr Dundas 3 wdr
4. Mockbird, chestnut mare owned by Lord Stawell 4 wdr
It is clear that something untoward happened in this race because in the first heat Joan of Arc beat Caleb, with Mountbank in third. However, 5 of the horses were withdrawn from the second heat, giving Caleb a free passage to claim the stakes.

Basingstoke 30 Guineas (25 added) Handicap Sweepstake (twice round)
1. Concise, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Sadler 1 1
2. Benster, bay colt owned by Captain Page Turner 4 2
3. Fairy, chestnut filly owned by Mr W Parsons 3 3
3. Polyxenn, 5 year old owned by Mr Jolliffe 2 4

Thursday 2nd September to Friday 3rd September 1824

Wellington Stakes over a mile and a furlong
1. Luzborough owned by Lord Palmerston
2. Hurly Burly owned by the Duke of Richmond
3. Miss Jigg owned by Mr Fleming

Vine Stakes over 2 miles
1. Milto owned by Mr Fulwar Craven
2. Speculator owned by Mr Weller
3. Franconi owned by Lord Ailesbury
Milto had contested the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, won by Cobweb, and had finished third.

Hackwood Stakes over a mile and a furlong
1. Bulow owned by Mr Biggs
2. Shepherd owned by Mr Pearce
3. Spree owned by the Duke of Richmond

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 24th September 1850.
Course today

Initially on Basingstoke Downs at Kempshott and after 1811 at Hackwood Park.

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:-

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

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