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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 5th June 1867
Final meeting: Wednesday 26th April 1871
The County Durham market town of Crook lies close to the River Wear about 9 miles south west of Durham. The town borders the beautiful countryside of Weardale and is known as the ‘Gateway to Weardale’. Crook first developed as an agricultural village in 1795 and had its own Inn and blacksmith shop. Therefore it is no surprise that, with such beautiful countryside and its close association with horses, the Crook Hunt organised race meetings in the latter part of the 19th century. The first meeting was staged on Wednesday 5th June 1867 on a course of under a mile in length with 200 yard run in on a farm owned by Mr Vickers, and opened with the Crook Stakes won by Mr Hepple’s Whitesocks. The next meeting took place on Monday 11th May 1868 and opened with the Crook Stakes over 3 miles which saw Maid of the Morning defeat Whitesocks. The Harperley Stakes, also over 3 miles, was won by The Witch. Meetings continued to be well supported for the next 3 years, with a final meeting on Wednesday 26th April 1871.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr J G Chapman & Mr G Moore (Stewards)
Principal Races Crook Hunt Steeplechase, Harperley Stakes

Monday 11th May 1868
Harperley Stakes over 3 miles
1. The Witch, bay horse owned by Mr Stubb
2. Britomart, aged horse owned by Mr Armstrong
3. Maid of the Morning, aged horse owned by Mr Backhouse
Betting: 6/4 Britomart, 7/4 Bannathlath, 4/1 The Witch

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 26th April 1871.

Course today A course of under a mile in length with a 200 yard run-in on a farm owned by Mr Vickers.
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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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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