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Earliest meeting: Friday 17th April 1925
Final meeting: Wednesday 11th April 1928
The large, popular Dorset coastal resort of Bournemouth was just an area for fishermen and the occasional smuggler until the early 19th century. However, it was transformed in 1810 into a health resort and spa town. It was to be over a century later before racing came to the town on a racecourse situated in the parish of Kinson, just over 3 miles from the town centre, at Ensbury Park which had previously been an airfield. An initial Committee meeting held as early as 29th June 1921 proposed developing a racecourse on the site but this application, along with a further one the next year, was rejected by Poole Rural District Council, which at that time was the local authority in charge of the Kinson parish. However, they eventually gave their approval on Wednesday 2nd August 1922 and the Ensbury Park Racecourse Company set to work on turning their dream into a reality. Their plans were ambitious in the extreme, proposing a Covered Club Stand, a Members Stand, a covered Tattersall’s Stand and car parking for at least 2000 cars. It took the shape of a figure eight course extending to two miles and held its first two day meeting on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th April 1925. The Poole Selling Hurdle was won by 3/1 joint favourite Shotmaker; the Portman Hunters’ Steeplechase by 15/8 Eamon Mor, and the Winton Selling Handicap by 5/1 Kate Hardcastle. Three later meetings followed in the first year in September, November and December. It came as a surprise that prize money was reduced in 1926, and further reduced in 1927. When prize money dropped still further in 1928 the quality of racing decreased, as did the crowd size, leading to a final meeting on Wednesday 11th April 1928. In the end the project was too ambitious and the land was eventually sold for development. The parish of Kinson did not become part of Bournemouth until April 1931.

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

Lord Stalbridge, Lord Pembroke, Mr F. E. L. Swan (Acting Stewards)

Principal Races

Shaftsbury Chase, Dorsetshire Handicap, Poole Hurdle

Compiled from official returns by E. C. Graham

Friday 17th & Saturday 18th April Meeting 1925

Poole Selling Hurdle Race
1. Shotmaker ridden by P Hogan
2. Werwolf ridden by Mr M D Rayson
3. Smoke Screen ridden by F Brookes
3/1 each of Shotmaker and Smoke Screen, 5/1 Appellant, 6/1 Royal Bucks, 7/1 Werwolf and Troika, 100/8 others. Won by 2l, 6l; Troika fell.—An objection to the winner, lodged by Mr Rayson, on the ground of crossing, was overruled. The Stewards considered the objection frivolous, ordered that the deposit money be forfeited, and fined Mr Rayson £10.—Winner sold to Mr Burry for 80gns. Winner owned by Mr B. Gore. 9 ran. Colours [blue and red hoops, quartered cap].

Portman Hunters' Steeple Chase of £125. (including a Cup value £25)
1. Eamon Mor ridden by Mr E Pearce
7/4 Jolly Glad, 15/8 Eamon Mor, 3/1 Duke's Enchantment, 5/1 Noble Birth. Eamon Mor came in alone, the others having fallen. Winner owned by Capt R. J. McCreery 4 ran The winning owner in the Portman Hunter Chase was Capt R. L. McCreery [Bob McCreery that was]. Colours [emerald, black collar, cuffs and cap].

Winton Selling Handicap Hurdle Race of £100
1. Kate Hardcastle ridden by J Waugh
2. Our Billy ridden by C Jacklin
3. Gondolier ridden by Mr R Read
6/4 Our Billy, 7/2 B. Jay, 5/1 Kate Hardcastle and St Gingoulph, 8/1 Flying Simon, 10/1 others. Won by 1l ; B. Jay came in third, beaten 4 l, and Gondolier fourth. B. Jay was disqualified for missing a flight of hurdles.— Winner bought in for 105gs. Winner owned by Mr F. L. C. Plummer. 7 ran. Colours [black, yellow cross belts].

Shaftesbury Handicap Steeple Chase of £250
1. St Bernard ridden by W Speck
2. The Sheriff ridden by G Turner
3. Navana ridden by Mr R Pulford
9/4 The Sheriff, 3/1 Darracq, 7/2 St Bernard, 8/1 Libretto and Navana, 100/8 Karel. Won by 4l, 2 l. Winner owned by Mrs N. Brownlee. 6 ran Colours [red, yellow hooped sleeves, yellow cap].

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 11th April 1928.
Course today On Ensbury Park, 3 miles from the town centre.
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

1925 1925 1926
1927 1927 1928 Matched Pair

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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