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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 27th September 1865
Final meeting: Monday 26th April 1915
The earliest record of racing in the famous Lancashire seaside resort of Blackpool was a two day meeting in the grounds of Layton Hall on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th September 1865 when the opening Visitors Plate was won by Mr T Smith’s Oulton Lowe. Later in the day the Clifton Handicap was also claimed by the same combination, while the next day the Blackpool Handicap was also won by Oulton Lowe despite carrying a 10lb penalty. The final Flat race meeting took place the very next year on 27th September 1866 before racing ceased for over 40 years. In October 1910 an ambitious move was made to organise steeplechase meetings in Blackpool on a grand scale. The Club promoting the idea contained some very prominent members, including the Earl of Lonsdale, Sir Peter Walker and Squire Clifton, and it was to take them less that a year before their dream was realised. Racing began at Clifton Park on 1st August 1911, with a 3 day meeting which opened with the Coronation Gold Cup which was won by Tokay, owned by Mr J Langley. The management team were extremely ambitious in promoting their new course, providing new stands, additional amenities and well above average prize money. The meetings continued for 4 more years until a final meeting on Monday 26th April 1915. The group had been too ambitious and the meeting became unsustainable. Although racing under rules ceased in April 1915, a trotting racecourse was later situated at Highfield Road, with the first meeting taking place on 6th April 1928. Trotting continued until the early 1930s.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Marquis of Hartington, Lord Lonsdale, Colonel F Murray Baillie (Steward)

Principal Races

Coronation Gold Cup, Grand International Handicap Chase, Clifton Handicap. Blackpool Handicap. Blackpool Coronation Gold Cup

Thursday 28th September 1865
The Blackpool Handicap over 1 ½ miles
1. Oulton Lowe, 4 year old owned by Mr T Smith
2. Barter, 5 year old owned by Mr Backhouse
3. Nidderdale, 3 year old owned by Mr Read

Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th September 1866

The Clifton Handicap over 1 ½ miles
1. The Squire owned by Mr Smith
2. Malvern owned by Mr Hinerson
3. Moorgame owned by Mr Dobson

The Blackpool Handicap over 1 ¼ miles
1. Merry Harp owned by Mr Hineson
2. Weather Clewline owned by Mr Hewitt
3. Moorgame owned by Mr Dobson

The final meeting took place on 27th April 1915
Course today

Michael Pithouse writes that the Stand Bar was used by the Blackpool & Fylde Glider club in 1950. In August Jack S Aked, a Flight Lieutenant, registered the club and leased the Stands on Squires Gate before it gradually decated and fell down in 1960. The old racecourse is now the site of Blackpool airport.

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

1913 1914

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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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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