Downpatrick Racecourse History

Records indicate that racing took place in the County Down town of Downpatrick as early as 1685, administered by the Down Royal Corporation of Horsebreeders. This organisation continued to use Downpatrick until 1789, after which it made use of Maze, which later became Down Royal. Although racing lapsed in 1867, a new course opened in 1870 when meetings were billed as County Down Hunt races. After the Second World War in 1945 the meetings were relaunched as Downpatrick races. On 6th April 1962 the Queen Mother visited Downpatrick to witness her horse Laffy win the Ulster Grand National.

Currently the course stages 9 fixtures annually.


Although Downpatrick remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Ballymoney closed its gates for the final time in 1880.

Ballymoney is a small town in County Antrim located between Coleraine and Ballymena. It can trace its first races to 1762 when a 4 day meeting was held from Monday 2nd to Thursday 4th August.  Races were held intermittently after this inaugural meeting on a range of courses within the vicinity of the town, always receiving the support of Lord Mount Eagle. In the middle of the 19th century the Magennis Cup was introduced and was won for 3 consecutive years from 1843 to 1845 by Redwood. In the 1860s the races became known as the Route Hunt races. The final record of a meeting was on Wednesday 28th January 1880 on fields owned by Mr R M Douglas, although the racing by this stage had become mediocre.

Monday 2nd August 1762
Ballymoney Stakes for Irish Bred horses over 3 miles
1. Executioner owned by Mr Lill
2. Nesgull owned by Mr Stuard
3. Unnamed mare owned by Mr Hutchinson

I am grateful to Google Maps (© Googlemap) for permission to use the map shown below.
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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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