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Earliest Meeting: September 1738
Final Meeting: 1777
The earliest record of racing in the Berkshire town of Newbury was in 1738 on common land, known as Wash Common, to the south of Newbury which was acquired by the Mayor and Newbury Corporation in 1627. The Wash staged racing in the mid-18th century, and results from meetings held from 1738 to 1740 were included in Racing Calendars of the time, but then ceased to be recorded. It was the norm in the 18th century for lady owners to run their horses under the names of their husbands. However, on the second day of the September 1739 meeting a certain Mrs Jones entered her grey mare Why Not for a 5 Guineas race. This left the corporations organisers in such a quandary that they awarded her the prize without having to race, and cancelled that particular race. However, it is believed that racing continued, particularly when military men were present in the area. One of the final occasions when racing on ‘the Wash’ was mentioned was in 1777 when the 3rd Dragoons were stationed close to Newbury and took part in races. What amazed the locals was that the drummers in the Dragoons were black men.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Portmore, Mayor of Newbury
Principal Races Newbury £30 Plate

Tuesday 18th September 1739
Newbury £30 Plate (each to carry 11 stone)

1. Driver, chestnut horse owned by Mr Beaver
2. Squirt, chestnut horse owned by Lord Portmore
Betting: 1/3 Squirt

Wednesday 19th September 1739
Newbury £10 Plate

1. Why Not owned by Mr Jones (started alone)
Why Not was really owned by Mrs Jones who had already claimed a 5 Guineas prize when the organisers would not let anyone compete against her.

Thursday 20th September 1739
Newbury £15 Plate

1. Smiling Nell, bay mare owned by Mr Clever

The map below was issued by John Rocque in 1761 and shows the Wash Common area at the bottom left hand side of the map.

The final meeting took place in 1777.
Course today

It was enclosed in 1850 and has now been completely covered by housing estates.

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    
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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