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Earliest meeting: Monday 1st August 1774
Final meeting: Saturday 2nd September 1780

The County Down village of Castlewellan today boasts a population of less than 2400, but back in the late 18th century it was much smaller and even more rural. Despite this it organised its own race meetings, the earliest to have its results published in the Racing Calendar being the six day meeting beginning on Monday 1st August 1774. The meeting opened with a Plate for 4 year olds which went to Mr R Hamilton’s Reformation, while on the next two days Lord Altamont saddled the second on both days, firstly with Noblessa and then with Brown Jack. The Lord eventually landed a winner in the Weight for Age Handicap on the final day of the meeting with Noble. Meetings continued for the next six years until a six day meeting was organised in August 1780. On the opening day, Monday 28th August,  the Gentlemen’s Hunters race over 4 miles was won by Lord Glerawly’s Little-Thought-Of, but after that the meeting deteriorated when Mr B Daly’s Lalege walked over in the 4 year old race, and the next day Senator also walked over for Mr R Hamilton. There are no further records of meetings taking place in the village.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Lord Altamont, Lord Clanwilliams, Lord Glerawly

Principal Races Castlewellan Weight for Age Handicap

Saturday 6th August 1774
Castlewellan Weight for Age Handicap over 3 miles
1. Noble, chestnut horse owned by Lord Altamont
2. Lovely Molly, bay mare owned by Mr Joseph Shadwell
3. Baber, bay horse owned by Mr Robert Hamilton

Monday 31st July 1775

Castlewellan 2 mile Purse
Emily, grey mare owned by Mr G Hamilton walked over

Tuesday 1st August 1775

Castlewellan 3 mile Purse
1. Reformation, bay mare owned by Mr R Hamilton
2. Fanny, chestnut mare owned by Mr S Hawthorn

Wednesday 2nd August 1775

Castlewellan 4 mile Purse
1. Comedy, grey mare owned by Mr J O’Neill
2. Unnamed horse owned by Mr E Smith
3. Coiner, grey gelding owned by Mr Jos. Shadwell

Thursday 3rd August 1775

Real Hunters 4 Mile Purse
1. Unnamed black gelding owned by Mr Campbell
2. Unnamed bay gelding owned by Mr Haney
3. Unnamed gelding owned by Mr J Dawson

Saturday 5th August 1775

Castlewellan 3 mile Purse
1. Reformation, bay mare owned by Mr R Hamilton
2. Comedy, grey mare owned by Mr J O’Neill

The final meeting took place on
Course today In fields on the edge of the village.
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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  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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