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Earliest Meeting: Tuesday 20th August 1805
Final Meeting: Friday 26th March 1841
Although the West Berkshire town of Newbury enjoyed a period of racing in the mid-18th century between 1738 and 1777 on Wash Common, racing then lapsed until Lord Craven gave permission for his ‘common land’ a mile west of Newbury on Enborne Heath to be used as a racecourse. He was an enthusiastic supporter of racing, not only in this area, setting up courses in Lambourn and Ilsley, but also nationally, with the Craven Stakes at Newmarket an important 2000 Guineas trial to this day. He died in 1791, but his wife Elizabeth Berkeley, who remarried and became Margrave of Anspach, was also a supporter of racing. Her husband instigated the Newbury race meeting at Enborne Heath in August 1805, although he died just a year later and it was left to the Margrave of Anspach and her son, the seventh Baron Craven, William Craven to be the driving force behind the meetings from 1806 to 1811. As was the tradition in those days, an Ordinary was served at a local hostelry during racing week, and in 1805 the chosen hostelry for the first week was the George & Pelican. Racing also took place at Northcroft in 1805, The Globe serving an Ordinary. It was clear that the Enborne meeting targeted the upper echelons of society because a Race Ball was held at the Mansion House, tickets priced at 5 shillings for Ladies and 7s 6d for Gentlemen. Any profits from the event were used as subscriptions for the next year’s meeting.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Craven, Margrave of Anspach
Principal Races Enborne Heath Free Plate

Tuesday 20th August 1805
Newbury £50 Maiden Plate over 2 miles

1. Slate, grey gelding owned by Sir Henry Cann Lippincott
2. Bet, bay filly owned by Mr Bacon
3. Lottery, 3 year old owned by Mr Chinnock
4. Farmer, bay colt owned by Mr Harris
5. Primrose, bay filly owned by Mr Dockerey
6. Margaretta, brown filly owned by Mr Bigg
7. Hilley, chestnut colt owned by Mr Frogley

Enborne Heath £50 Free Plate over 4 miles
1. Principle, bay colt owned by Mr Farmer
2. Little John, bay gelding owned by the Earl of Barrymore
3. Laura, chestnut mare owned by Mr Pierce

Wednesday 21st August 1805
Newbury £50 All Age Handicap Plate over 2 miles

1. Pet, bay filly owned by Mr Bacon
2. Young Eclipse, bay horse owned by Mr Goddard
3. Driver. Black gelding owned by Mr Angell
The winner won by just half a neck after a thrilling race.

Tuesday 19th August 1806
The Newbury £50 Maiden Plate over 2 miles was won by Mr Lake’s 4 year old chestnut colt.
Town of Newbury £50 Free Plate
1. Capias, 4 year old owned by Mr Dundas
2. Ploughboy, 3 year old owned by Mr Worthington

In a £50 Match which followed, Mr Dundas’s bay colt Pencil defeated Mr Calley’s bay filly.
On Wednesday 20th August 1806 the 10 Guineas Sweepstake went to Sir Henry Cann Lippincott; the 10 Guineas Hunters’ Sweepstake to Mr Dundas, and the £50 Handicap Plate to Mr Bullock’s Green Dragon. After a well-attended Ordinary and Ball, Lord Craven and Hon. M Montague were appointed Stewards for the 1807 meeting.

The 18th century map below shows the location of Enborne Heath relative to Newbury Town Centre.

Racing ceased on Enborne Heath in 1811 after the 2 day meeting on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th August 1811 when the land was enclosed and became Crockham Heath farm. It remains farmland to this day and can be found opposite Enborne School.
Tuesday 13th August 1811
Enborne Heath £50 All Age Plate

1. Romeo owned by Mr Dundas 1 1
2. Levant owned by Mr Hallett 2 2

In the All Aged Stakes Witch of Endor, owned by Mr Dundas, walked over.

Wednesday 14th August 1811
Newbury £50 Town Plate

1. Foscott owned by Mr Withnall 2 1 1
2. Levant owned by Mr Hallett 1 2 2

Newbury 10 Guineas 3 year old Stakes
1. Gobanna owned by Mr Bugg
2. Philadelphia owned by Mr Dundas

However, racing did return to the Enborne area of the town in the middle of the 19th century when steeplechase meetings were held on farmland close to the River Enborne. The first such steeplechase meeting was staged in March 1840 close to Enborne Gate and Skinners Green (although a chase the previous year had taken place just down the road between Sydmonton and Ecchinswell ) and the full result of the steeplechase is shown below, but the meeting only lasted for one more year, ceasing after the 26th March 1841 race.

Tuesday 24th March 1840
The conditions of a Sweepstake were 5 sovereigns per entry, with 50 sovereigns added, the winner to be sold for 100 sovereigns if demanded. The selected 4 mile course was of a first rate character, with a ‘quantum sufficit’ of fences of pretty stiff nature. The start, and for the first mile, was around Bunker’s Hill near Cope Hall, which was well known for an engagement between King Charles I and his usurper. The race then continued towards another hill, which provided the spectators with an excellent view of the last half mile of the race. A field of 7 was expected at post time, although Snipe and Vintner were withdrawn to leave a field of 5.
Newbury Maiden Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Old Billy owned by Mr T Price and ridden by Vickers
2. Warwick owned by Mr T Theobold and ridden by Murray
3. Winchester owned by Mr Rawlin and ridden by Barker
4. Walker owned by Mr John Haddy and ridden by Vivian
5. Baronet owned by Mr Barker and ridden by Martin

Friday 26th March 1841
The first part of this meeting took place in the Enborne Heath area of the Town at Skinner’s Green. The start was from a meadow on rising ground, with a line through pasture and fallows, alternating between the two over good hunting country and, after completing 40 leaps and all of 4 miles, the finish was at Skinner’s Green.
Newbury 10 Guineas Sweepstake
1. Cannon Ball, bay gelding owned and ridden by Mr Newcombe
2. Cherroot, bay gelding owned by Mr William Sadler and ridden by King
3. Oak Stick, brown gelding owned by Mr Adamson and ridden by Oldacre
4. Monks, bay gelding owned by Captain Mainwaring and ridden by Goddard
5. Little Cumberton owned and ridden by Mr Carter
6. Curiosity, bay gelding owned and ridden Mr Smith
7. Laffarge, bay gelding owned and ridden by Mr Seffert

The final meeting took place on Friday 26th March 1841.
Course today

Today part of the land has reverted to farmland but is still referred to as the ‘old racecourse’, while the rest of the land has been subsumed into Newbury’s much needed bypass.

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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