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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 10th May 1552
Final meeting: Saturday 13th May 1865
The earliest record of a meeting at the East Lothian village of Haddington was on Tuesday 10th May 1552 when the local Burgess, John Forrois, organised a race for a Silver Bell. The Haddington bell weighed only 4oz and was kept for a year by the victor. On Tuesday 29th May 1660 there is evidence of a meeting in the village to celebrate Charles II triumphant return to London. The prize for the race was a Cup, donated by the local Laird Sir John Wilkie, suitably engraved with the Coat of Arms. Spring forward two centuries and in 1860 Haddington was holding steeplechase meetings on a course near the local Garleton Hills, just 1 ½ miles from the village. Four years later the village hosted meetings organised by the East Lothian Hunt Committee, the first of which was staged on Wednesday 13th April 1864.  The feature race was the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt Sweepstakes over 2 miles which resulted in a win for Major McBarnet’s King Dan over Irish Birdcatcher. The next year a meeting on Saturday 13th May 1865 proved to be the last under rules in the village. The opening Haddington Handicap was run over 3 ½ miles and went to Mr Calder’s The Slave who beat Stumcartry and Brilliant, while the Open Hunt Cup was won by Tam Glen. This was not the last racing in Haddington as it held point to point meetings as late as 1934.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Sir David Baird, Sir John Wilkie, Mr T M Mitchell (Steward), John Forrois, John Laurence

Principal Races

Haddington Handicap, North Berwick Cup, Metropolitan Handicap

By 1860 Haddington was holding steeplechase meetings on a course near the local Garleton Hills. (results shown below)

Thursday 11th to Friday 12th April 1860

North Berwick Cup run over 3 and a half miles
1. Daybreak owned by Mr R Calder

Metropolitan Handicap run over 3 and a half miles
1. Lyra owned by Mr R Calder

Haddington Handicap run over 3 and a half miles
1. Lyra owned by Mr R Calder

Saturday 13th May 1865
Haddington Open Hunt Cup over 3 ½ miles
1. Tam Glen, bay gelding owned by Mr J Elliot
2. Clauda, bay mare owned by Mr Belany
3. Newchurch, chestnut horse owned by Mr R Calder
Betting: 4/7 Newchurch, 6/4 Tam Glen, 5/1 Clauda

The final meeting at Haddington was on Saturday 13th May 1865, although there was evidence of the racecourse at Haddington right up to 1934.

Course today A course 1 ½ miles from the village at Garleton Hills.
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 johnwslusar@gmail.com

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com 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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