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Earliest meeting: Thursday 11th November 1880
Final meeting: Thursday 9th November 1882
The South-West county of Dorset borders Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire. Its county town is Dorchester, which was made famous by the novels of Thomas Hardy. The county joined forces with South Wilts to organise race meetings in the latter part of the 19th century, the first of which took place on Thursday 11th November 1880. The course, over flat grassland and easy fences, was in Gillingham, just 5 minutes walk from the station, and the South Western Railway laid on excursion trains for the event.  The principal event was the Wolverton Cup, kindly donated by Lord Wolverton, which was won by Mr A Clark’s Rafter on Thursday 10th November 1881. Meetings continued for just one more year until Thursday 9th November 1882.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Wolverton, Earl Radnor, Lord Portman, Lord Pembroke
Principal Races Wolverton Cup, Blackmoor Vale Steeplechase

Thursday 10th November 1881
Wolverton Cup over 2 ½ miles
1. Rafter, grey gelding owned by Mr A Clark
2. Vendetta, bay mare owned by Mr A Driend
3. MP, bay gelding owned by Mr R Lemon
Betting: Evens Rafter, 2/1 MP, 3/1 Vendetta

The final meeting took place on Thursday 9th November 1882.

Course today In Gillingham, just 5 minutes walk from the station.
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.
Download an order form
  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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