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Earliest Meeting: Tuesday 27th August 1805
Final Meeting: Friday 26th March 1841
Although racing was first staged at the West Berkshire town of Newbury in 1738 on Wash Common, lasting until 1777, and later transferred to  Lord Craven’s land at Enborne Heath in 1805, racing also took place in the early 19th century on Northcroft, an area of common land close to the town centre on its western side. It is believed that from 1805 festivities in the town lasted for a 2 week period, with thoroughbred racing taking centre stage at Enborne Heath in the first week, while pony racing, Galloway racing, hurdles and steeplechases were staged on Northcroft in the second week of the festivities. 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 second week was The Globe, the first week, when racing took place on Enborne Heath, an Ordinary was served at the George & Pelican. Racing continued at the venue for 10 years, the final two day meeting being held on 19th and 20th September 1815 when the card on the first day consisted of a 3 mile Weight for Age 20 Guineas Purse, a 10 Guineas Purse restricted to Galloways, and a 5 Guineas Purse for ponies. On the second day the card opened with a Saddle and Bridle race for ponies, followed by a novelty Ass race for one and a half Guineas. The meeting had something for all, finishing with a race for Maiden ladies less than 5 feet 8 inches tall, the winner receiving a 4 Holland Chemises (or linen if she was of large dimension), the second receiving a pair of cotton stockings, while the third was awarded a pair of scarlet garters. Were any of the 3 placed ladies still maidens the next day!? The Napoleonic Wars took their toll and meetings ceased at this venue in 1815. However, records show that hurdle racing was revived in the mid-19th century, with details shown below.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Jonathan Elderfield
Principal Races Northcroft 20 Guineas Weight for Age Purse

The 19th century map below shows the location of Northcroft relative to Newbury Town Centre.

Tuesday 24th March 1840
After the crowd had enjoyed the spectacle of Newbury’s Maiden Steeplechase on Enborne Heath, the crowd made their way towards Northcroft where a hurdle course had been erected.
Northcroft 5 Sovereign Sweepstake
1. Walker, bay gelding owned by Mr John Haddy and ridden by Vivian
2. Warwick, chestnut gelding owned by Mr T Theobold and ridden by Vickers
3. Snipe owned by Mr Parr
4. Unnamed chestnut gelding owned by Mr Williams
5. Unnamed chestnut gelding owned by Mr Church
After the days racing had been completed a dinner took place at The White Hart hosted by Mr Jonathan Elderfield.

Friday 26th March 1841
After two races had been contested at Skinner’s Green, the spectators made their way to Northcroft for the annual hurdle race.
Northcroft Hurdle
1. Jerry, bay gelding owned by Mr Carlin
2. Doubtful, black mare owned by Mr Cumber

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

Today the area remains a wonderful amenity area for the locals, an open green space and recreation area where families can relax and enjoy themselves.

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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