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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 16th June 1752
Final meeting: Saturday 30th September 1911
The county Cavan town of Cavan, which dates back to the early 1300s, lies in Ulster but is close to the border with Northern Ireland. The earliest record of racing in the town was a four day meeting from Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th June 1752 when the £30 Purse, restricted to 5 and 6 year olds, was won by Thomas Burrow’s Little Dapper. The meeting proved a great success for Charles O’Neill who won the 20 Guineas Plate with Sweeper and the £40 Purse with Fearnought. Meetings continued on a regular basis, with some of the best horses of the day contesting the races. On Tuesday 24th May 1864 the management joined forces with Meath to stage the County Meath and Cavan Steeplechases, held on the Daly’s Bridge course at Kells, featuring the Tara Hall Grand National. Despite the initiative and drive of the management team they met difficulties. In April 1869 the wrong date was advertised leading to a postponement, while meetings were frequently abandoned due to flooding. The June 1879 meeting was typical; the original date was flooded out and re-scheduled for Saturday 21st June 1879, when the Cavan Handicap was won by Mr T Jackson’s 2/1 on favourite Little Duchess, but drew scathing newspapers comments ‘A wet day, knee deep in mud for horses and punters, wretched racing’. Racing ceased at the very end of the 19th century, although meetings were revived in 1906 and ran successfully for five years until the final card took place on Saturday 30th September 1911.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Sir Ernest Cochrane, Captain Archer, Charles O’Neill
Principal Races Cavan Handicap, Sir Ernest Cochrane Silver Cup

16th June 1752

Cavan £30 Five & Six year old Race
1. Little Dapper, chestnut horse owned by Thomas Burrows
2. Drowsey, bay mare owned by Mr McAuley

17th June 1752

Cavan 20 Guineas Plate
1. Sweeper, black gelding owned by Charles O’Neill
2. Dinger, bay gelding owned by Mr Bolton

18th June 1752

Cavan Give & Take
1. Red Jenny, chestnut mare owned by Captain Archer
2. Spanking Roger, bay gelding owned by Mr Flood
3. Rival, bay gelding owned by Mr Judge

19th June 1752

Cavan £40 Purse
1. Fearnought, bay horse owned by Charles O’Neill
2. Dainty, chestnut mare owned by Mr Burrows

The final meeting took place on Saturday 30th September 1911
Course today Initially on the outskirts of Cavan, but the management also used the Daly’s Bridge course at Kells.
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

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