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Earliest meeting: Monday 17th July 1682
Final meeting: Monday 14th April 1884
For a city as large and important as Leeds it is surprising that it did not maintain a racecourse for longer, but in the end Leeds racing enthusiasts now have to get their Flat racing fix at York and their jumps racing fix at Wetherby. The earliest record of racing in the vicinity of Leeds was on Monday 17th July 1682 when a certain Mr SK and Mr SM matched their horses for a wager on Chapeltown Moor, and the venue was still being used over a century later. On Thursday 25th August 1709 the Leeds Plate was won by Lord Irwin, while two meetings were staged throughout 1714 on Chapeltown Moor and Methley Moor. However, by 1808 the meetings on Chapeltown Moor ceased, mainly because it was not enclosed and therefore difficult to maintain, collect fees from the public or ensure safety. Racing switched to Haigh Park in Leeds in 1823, which is dealt with in a separate section of this book, continuing there until the final meeting on Friday 17th August 1832. The meeting was forced to cease because the Aire and Calder Navigation Company had plans to divert the river through the centre of the course. In 1868 racing was held for a brief period on Woodhouse Moor, although details are sketchy. In 1883 businessmen sought Jockey Club permission to hold races either at Osmondthorpe or Skelton Moor and permission was granted, but local magistrates opposed the plans. Just a year later there was a brief reincarnation of the Leeds races at Shadwell when a two day National Hunt meeting took place on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th December 1883, but the five races only attracted a total of 18 runners, with three of the races walk-overs, causing the management to assess the future of the project. This second phase did stage one more two day meeting on the Saturday 12th and Monday 14th April 1884 before time was finally called on Leeds races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duke of Hamilton, Lord Scarborough, Lord Fitzwilliam, Lord Kelburne, Mr Osbaldeston, Lord Milton

Principal Races Leeds Gold Turreen, Leeds Town Plate, Leeds Ladies Plate

Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th May 1733

Leeds 5 Year Olds Purse over 2 miles
1. Marshamshire Molly owned by Mr Proctor
The Bay mare beat a field of 8 others, although no further details were provided.

Leeds £30 Plate
1. Faustina owned by Mr Jenison
2. Miss Nesham owned by Mr Brewster
3. Unnamed Dun mare owned by The Duke of Hamilton

2nd and 3rd June 1762

Leeds 2 mile Purse
1. Encore owned by Mr Brandling
2. Black-Legs owned by Mr Wentworth
3. Strip’em owned by Mr Turner
The winner won the first heat but then came 2nd and 3rd in subsequent heats before winning the fourth heat to claim the prize.

Leeds 2 mile Stakes
1. Miss Massey owned by Mr Swinburn
2. Dainty Nell owned by Mr Bell
3. Unnamed colt owned by Mr Stanhope

Racing switched to Haigh Park in Leeds in 1823 and continued there until the final meeting on 17th August 1832.

Wednesday 23rd June to Friday 25th June 1824

Leeds Town Plate over 2 miles
1. Minna owned by Mr Haworth
2. Rhubarb owned by Mr Ridsdale
3. Sir Henry owned by Mr Hudson

Leeds Gold Turreen over 2 miles
1. Wanton owned by Mr Ferguson
2. Theodore owned by Mr Petre
3. May-Day owned by Lord Kelburne

Leeds Ladies Plate over 2 miles
1. Minna owned by Mr Haworth
2. Palatine owned by Mr Houldsworth

There was a brief reincarnation of the Leeds races in 1884, although this second phase appears to have been a one-off. The final meeting took place on 14th April 1884.

Course today Initially on Chapeltown Moor, then for a period on Haigh Park, before minor events at Woodhouse Moor and Shadwell.
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:-

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.
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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