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arliest meeting: Monday 20th July 1801
Final meeting: Friday 17th April 1914

The Welsh town of Carmarthen, with its magnificent ruined Norman Castle, first staged races on Monday 20th July 1801 when they were deemed so important that they were included in the Racing Calendar.  The opening Plate, an all age Handicap, was won by Jenny Spinner for Mr Lord. That inaugural meeting, a 3 day meeting held on an oval course to the east of the town surrounded on three sides by the River Tywi, extended to Wednesday 22nd July 1801 when coincidentally Jenny Spinner won the principal event on the final day of racing. Regular meetings continued for just two years until racing ceased in 1803, but then returned to the town some 28 years later in 1831. The final flat race meeting took place on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st September 1837 when the Carmarthenshire Stakes saw Mr Treherne’s Squirrel beat Mantua and Cleone, while the prestigious Silver Cup allowed Captain B Davies’s Mantua to gain his revenge. There was then a further lapse in racing in the town until 1850 when a two day steeplechase meeting was staged. A remarkable event occurred on Tuesday 11th February 1862 when The Rug, owned by Sir B de Burgh, and Ace of Hearts, owned by Mr W R H Powell, contested the Open Steeplechase over a gruelling 4 miles. Ace of Hearts went off the 6/4 favourite, but the race resulted in a dead heat and, as was common at that time, there was a run-off. Despite The Rug building up a clear lead he refused twice on the homeward turn enabling Ace of Hearts to draw level. After a fierce struggle, with spurs used by both jockeys, a second dead heat was announced by the judge. Eventually it was agreed to divide the spoils rather than send the horses around the course for a third time. Racing continued at the old course until the late 1800's, with meetings transferred to a new course on the opposite side of the river in 1897 at Hafod-wen, which was left handed and had an oval circumference with a 2 furlong run in. Once admission charges were made the crowds were not as large and the meeting started to decline. Fields were depleted and it came to a head in 1912 when the meeting was abandoned due to insufficient entries. Racing finally ceased in the town on Friday 17th April 1914.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Honourable Colonel Trevor MP, Captain B Davies

Principal Races Carmarthen Silver Cup, The Rhydodyn Stakes, The Dynevor Stakes

Monday 20th July 1801
Carmarthen All Age Handicap Plate over 4 miles
1. Jenny Spinner, chestnut filly owned by Mr Lord
2. Tawny, bay mare owned by Mr Carr
3. Gazer, chestnut filly owned by Mr C Day

Tuesday 6th & Wednesday 7th September 1836

The Carmarthenshire Stakes over 2 miles
1. Changeling owned by Mr J H Peel
2. Hatfield owned by Mr Gough
3. Mopsus owned by Mr D S Davies

The Rhydodyn Stakes over 2 miles
1. Brother to Young Tamworth owned by Mr Oseland
2. Mantua owned by Captain Davis
3. Maesycrugiau owned by Mr Elmsley

The Carmarthen Silver Cup over 2 miles
1. Timothy owned by Mr Farmer
2. Dandina owned by Mr Gough
3. Margam Lass owned by Mr Dalymore

The Dynevor Stakes over 2 miles
1. Timothy owned by Mr Farmer
2. Changeling owned by Mr J H Peel
3. Mopsus owned by Captain Davies

Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st September 1837

The Carmarthenshire Stakes
1. Squirrel owned by Mr Treherne
2. Mantua owned by Captain B Davies
3. Cleone owned by Mr Lewis

The Carmarthen Silver Cup
1. Mantua owned by Captain B Davies
2. Ben Sood owned by Captain Well

The Colonel Trevor Dynevor Stakes
1. Momus owned by Captain B Davies
2. Squirrel owned by Mr Treherne

Course today

Initially on the east of the town and in the latter part of the 19th century at Hafod-wen.

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

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

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

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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  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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