Holland House Stables
If you can provide any photos associated with this stable, or additional information to fill any gaps then contact johnwslusar@gmail.com

Holland House, previously known as Lansdowne House, is located next to Fitzroy House stables, now occupied by Michael Bell, in the CB8 0JT district of Newmarket. The House and Stables have witnessed more highs and lows than other places in the town, from stabling a Derby winner in 1927 to the scene of a murder in July 1956.

For over 4 centuries racing has been staged in Newmarket, but how have the racecourses evolved from an initial starting point at Fleam Dyke Pumping Station, some 8 miles from the town, with a winning post barely 200 metres from the town centre, into two world recognized, excellent racecourses and a universal acceptance that Newmarket is the Headquarters of racing?
To access an interactive racecourse map showing over 50 individually named racecourses CLICK HERE. The map will enable you to:-
1. Determine when extended races over 8 miles, 6 miles and 4 miles began to be replaced by the courses now visited by thousands annually;
2. Consider how the challenge of crossing the Devil's Dyke was overcome;
3. Contemplate why the town no longer has a steeplechase course despite having at least 5 courses during the past 2 centuries;
4. Examine the practicalities of having up to 48 starting posts and winning posts;
5. Appreciate that it was not financially viable to have an open racecourse spread widely across the heath, with a finishing post barely 200 metres from the town centre;
6. Research how and why the Cambridgeshire Handicap has been contested over 3 different courses.
NOTE: The map does not make mention of 2 particular courses:-
(i) Sefton Course (also known as the Cambridge Road Course)
Source: 1970 Raceform.  Used from 1959 to 1975.
(ii) New Circular Course
The Circular Handicap was run on Friday 29th October 1875 on the New Circular Course of about two miles.
Source: London Standard (30th October 1875): ''the horses started near the Turn of the Lands, ran back way of the Cambridgeshire Course towards the Ditch, and afterwards proceeded down the side of the Tan Gallop, and turned into the Rowley Mile near the Bretby Stakes starting post, finishing at the stand at the end of the flat. Except in the hollow near the Cambridgeshire start the runners should have been visible all the way if the sky had been bright and clear''.
Another report hoped that the Circular Handicap would become a feature in future programmes, as it would be contested in front of the new grandstand which would be completed in about a year and would be able to accommodate thousands.
(I am grateful to Tim Cox for bringing attention to these 2 courses.)
Enjoy researching the intriguing history of Newmarket and its many racecourses.
1920-1951 Jack Watts
John Evelyn Watts, universally known as Jack, was born on 5th October 1887, son of the legendary trainer John Watts. He served his jockeys apprenticeship with his father, going on to partner a number of prominent winners, including the 1903 Cambridgeshire winner Ballantrae. He also rode Kunstlet to victory in the 1903 Royal Hunt Cup, later winning the 1907 Stewards Cup aboard Romney. After his successful career as a jockey ended, he launched his training career. Just after the First World War had ended Jack Watts trained at Lansdowne House and its 30-odd stables at the rear of the house. His most famous victory was in 1927 when Call Boy (SR 2049) won the Epsom Derby for owner Frank Curzon at 4/1 fav, beating Hot Night and Shian Mor by 2 lengths and 8 lengths. He gained a second Classic victory during the War when the Classics were run at Newmarket. He trained Picture Play to victory at 15/2 when ridden by Charlie Elliott in the 1944 1000 Guineas for owner Jim Joel. He died in Newmarket on 23rd October 1959 aged 72.
1927 Epsom Derby CALL BOY (SR 2049) 4/1 fav owned by Frank Curzon, trained by Jack Watts and ridden by Charlie Elliott.
1944 1000 Guineas PICTURE PLAY (SR 1924) 15/2 owned by Jim Joel, trained by John (Jack) Watts and ridden by Charlie Elliott

CALL BOY (SR 2049)
Call Boy, a chestnut colt by Hurry On out of Comedienne, was born in 1924 at Frank Curzon's Primrose Cottage Stud in Newmarket. In a career spanning 7 races he was successful 4 times, winning the Linton Stakes and Middle Park Stakes at Headquarters, having previously been beaten in the July Stakes, and running second in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. He was made favourite for the 1927 2000 Guineas, but was beaten a short head by Adam's Apple (SR 1983) at 20/1 owned by Charles Whitburn. He then won the Newmarket Stakes by an impressive 4 lengths and, on the back of this win, was made 4/1 favourite at Epsom, where he duly obliged by 2 lengths from Hot Night. Owner Frank Curzon was advised not to attend by his doctor, but was determined to do so. When the horse won, King George V, seeing how ill Curzon was, invited him to receive his trophy at Buckingham Palace. Curzon, determined to carry on as if nothing was wrong, declined, instead climbing the Epsom stairs to receive his trophy. Frank Curzon died a few days later, while Call Boy went off to stud without racing again.

1952 Jeremy Tree
Arthur Jeremy Tree was born on 21st December 1925, son of Ronald Tree, the Conservative MP for Market Harborough, and Nancy Tree (nee Lancaster) who was niece of the first lady MP Nancy Astor, who took her seat on 1st December 1919. It was Nancy Astor who sparked Jeremy's interest in horse racing, and he began work as assistant to Richard Warden in 1947. He took out his own trainer's licence in 1952, training at Lansdowne House Stables in Newmarket, but moved to Beckhampton, Wiltshire in 1953. It was whilst he was based at Beckhampton that he achieved his greatest training successes, winning 4 English Classics; 1963 2000 Guineas with ONLY FOR LIFE (SR 1876) at 33/1, 1975 Epsom Oaks with JULIETTE MARNY (SR 1909) at 12/1, 1979 Epsom Oaks with SCINTILLATE (SR 1797) at 20/1, and 1980 2000 Guineas with KNOWN FACT (SR 2092) at 14/1. Arguably his greatest training feat was landing the 1985 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe with Rainbow Quest.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1836 map shown above. Holland House Stables is 3
To enjoy the experience of a day at Newmarket races in May 1838 CLICK HERE

1953-1956 Miss Rachel Parsons
Rachel Mary Parsons was born in 1885, daughter of Hon. Sir Charles Algernon Parsons, who was the Anglo-Irish engineer who invented the compound steam Turbine and founded C A Parsons and Company. He married Katharine Bethell in 1883 and they had two children, Algernon George Parsons, who was killed in action in 1918 in the First World War, and Rachel Mary Parsons. Sir Charles died on 11th February 1931 on board the steamship Duchess of Richmond, while his wife died just 2 years later. This meant that Rachel became a very wealthy spinster who gave lavish dinner parties at her London residence in Grosvenor Square, but in 1947 bought a Newmarket property at Branches Park. She was a keen racing enthusiast, owning a string of thoroughbreds and employing and discarding a number of trainers. One of her trainers was Charles Bell who only trained for her for 9 months, but found her difficult to get on with. She purchased Lansdowne House from Jeremy Tree in 1954, employing Denis James Pratt as one of her stable lads. She became more cantankerous and more reclusive. Denis was in his twenties, with a wife and child, but found her increasingly difficult to work for, and left Lansdowne House Stables in May 1956, although he was owed about 2 months holiday pay. He made many requests to be paid what he was owed over the following 6 weeks, but Rachel was stubborn. Finally, in early July he decided to confront her, making his way to Lansdowne House to demand payment, but she became angry, shouting obscenities and insults at him, and attacking him with her handbag. He defended himself with an iron bar which was readily to hand, hitting her once, but unfortunately the single blow killed her. He stood trial for murder at Essex Assizes in Chelmsford, but was found not guilty for murder, although he was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and given 10 years imprisonment.

newmarket 1918e.JPG (26765 bytes) Newmarket 1940.JPG (18535 bytes) newmarket 1948e.JPG (10601 bytes)

1957-November 1963 Basil Foster
Basil Foster was born in Doncaster and began training in 1951 at Rectory Farm, The Ridgeway in Enfield. In 1955 he trained a steeplechaser, Joe Holland, to victory, and he was so enamoured with the horse that when he moved to Lansdowne House Stables in 1957, he renamed the house Holland House, a name which has been maintained ever since. In December 1961 Basil gave two apprentices their chance, one was Jeremy Glover who went on to become a very good racehorse trainer, whilst the other was David Jones, a Manchester lad who left school early to join the stable. He enjoyed a few months learning his trade and riding out on the Warren Hill gallops, but left racing to make his name as one of The Monkees, Davy Jones. Basil continued to train, relocating from Newmarket at the end of the 1963 season to Lambourn and Middleham before a spell in both Canada and Florida.

November 1963-1990s Miss Elizabeth Crawley
Miss Elizabeth Crawley, sister of Samuel and Cecil Crawley, was an eccentric who loved race horses. She purchased Holland House, using the 30-odd stables linked to Holland House as a bed and breakfast establishment for horses, for temporary equine visitors to Newmarket in readiness for a stud engagement, or as a box for one of the lots at nearby Tattersalls' sales. The House was also later used as a care home.

2010-present Bill Gredley
On 5th July 2010 Holland House Stables were sold at auction for £460,000 to a property agent, Jim Bryant, acting on behalf of Bill Gredley. The stables had not been used for training purposes for 47 years, when they were the training establishment of Basil Foster.

© John Slusar 2020

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

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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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