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Earliest meeting: Monday 9th March 1840
Final meeting: Present day
The earliest record of racing in the vicinity of the Westmeath town of Kilbeggan was on Monday 9th March 1840 across 2 miles of sporting country in the vicinity of the current Loughnagore course. The principal race, the Kilbeggan Challenge Cup for 40 guineas, attracted an entry of six and was won after three heats by Mr Crofton’s Razor. The only other race on that inaugural card was for a Silver Whip which saw Mr Green’s Star defeat Oarty and Cogar. However, this initial period of racing lasted only until 1855 when the course closed, along with many other Irish courses at the time of the Great Famine. Racing later took place at nearby Ballard from 17th April 1879 to 1885 on fields owned by the Locke distillery family, but lapsed once again. When racing was relaunched on Monday 2nd September 1901 it proved to be popular despite hosting just a single meeting annually on the present day Loughnagore course. Although racing ceased during the War years from 1941 to 1945, meetings were revived after the War and the number of days racing increased after 1947. In 1971 the course made the brave decision to abandon Flat racing, but that decision appears to be a good one as they now stage quality National Hunt racing and currently host 7 fixtures annually.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Fetherstone, Mr Crofton
Principal Races Kilbeggan Challenge Cup

Monday 9th March 1840
Kilbeggan Challenge Cup over 2 miles
1. Razor, bay horse owned by Mr Crofton
2. Rough Robin, 4 year old owned by Mr Fetherstone
3. Welcome, chestnut horse owned by Mr Hagerty
4. Elson, chestnut horse owned by Mr Codd
5. Kate Karney, chestnut horse owned by Mr Clark

The course continues to operate successfully.
Course today Initially close to the current day Loughnagore course and afterwards at nearby Ballard.
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    
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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