Newmarket Town Plate 1666-1699

A pivotal moment in horse racing history, and in the history of Newmarket, occurred in 1665 when, on 16th October 1665, King Charles II issued an Article for a race, the Newmarket Town Plate, for horses carrying 12 stone over the Newmarket Round Course on the second Thursday in October each year. Although there was no Jockey Club at this stage, this is one of the first sets of rules governing a race in Newmarket. It is clear that, at this point in time, there is a Clerk of the Course, a Clerk of the Race, a Treasurer, many Judges, one of whom is responsible for checking the weights of riders.

Thursday 11th October 1666 (1st running)
Inaugural running, but result unknown
Thursday 8th October 1669 (4th running)
Unnamed horse owned by Lord Roos (John Manners of Belvoir Castle) winning 2 great candlesticks
Saturday 14th October 1671 (6th running)

Unnamed horse purportedly ridden by King Charles II when 4 ran, defeating Mr Eliot, the Duke of Monmouth and Thomas Thynne, winning a flagon of 32 price

Evidence:New-Markitt Calendar by J B Muir

Thursday 8th October 1674 (9th running)

Unnamed horse owned by Mr Pope (sic Pape), a Yorkshire gentleman, although a Plate was won at Newmarket by Mr Fenton on Saturday 10th October 1674.

Evidence:New-Markitt Calendar by J B Muir

Saturday 20th March 1675 (10th running)

King Charles II did ride the winner of a Plate, Blue Capp, at Newmarket in March, but it is unlikely to have been the Town Plate which, under the article laid down by King Charles II, had to be run on the second Thursday of October. Sir Robert Carr wrote. ' Yesterday His Majesty rode himself 3 heats and a course and won the Plate' all fower (sic) were hard ridden and neer ridden, and I doe (sic) assure you the King wonn (sic) by good horsemanship.'

Evidence:New-Markitt Calendar by J B Muir

Tuesday 16th March 1680 (15th running)

Mr Griffin did ride the winner of 'The Plate' on Tuesday 16th March 1680, although it is unlikely to have been the 'Annual Town Plate' given that it was on a Tuesday (not Thursday) and in March (not October). Three Lords and two other gentlemen's horses also completed. He then presented the Town Plate to the town 2 days after Wednesday 17th March 1680 on a day the Plate Race was wun by the King's horse Tankot, Mr Mayes horse Dragon, the Duke of Monmouth's horse Spot, and the Topping Horse of Newmarket, Red Rose, over the 4 mile (Round) course, but who had the best on't we cannot give you an account.'

Evidence:New-Markitt Calendar by J B Muir

Saturday 19th October 1695 (30th running)

HM King William III owned the winner of the 'Town Plate' run at Newmarket on this day when 'trained ' by Tregonwell Frampton, and was opposed by a solitary opponent ridden by the Earl of Scarsdale, but it is more likely that this was one of the regular King's Plates for £100 contested around the country annually.

Evidence:New-Markitt Calendar by J B Muir