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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 8th April 1856
Final meeting: Thursday 7th April 1859
Pembroke, the historic county town of Pembrokeshire, first held races in the middle of the 19th century. Whilst races had certainly taken place in Haverfordwest prior to this meeting, the first Pembroke meeting was held on the Orielton Estate, home of the Baronetcy of Orielton. The course, situated 3 miles from Pembroke, was appropriately located between the two church spires of St Twynels and St Petrox, meaning races were literally steeplechases. It consisted of a 2 mile circular course complete with 13 fences, including a brook and two hurdles. The opening Handicap was won by Mr Llewellin’s Little Yeoman, who defeated St David and Harlequin, while the Garrison Cup was won by Mr James’ Dudu. The feature race, the Hunters Stakes, went to Mr Edwards grey gelding Bono Johnny. The final meeting at this venue was on Thursday 7th April 1859 when the Open Handicap Steeplechase was won by Captain Burke’s The Mule who got the better of Arthur owned by Mr G Lort-Phillips. After this card was completed the meeting transferred to Freshwater East in 1860. This seaside town was a lovely setting for races on the beach, although it is thought that the meeting only remained until 1862. Records show that a meeting took place at Pembroke Dock on 22nd October 1863, and later the meeting visited St Daniel’s Banking course close to the town of Pembroke in 1869. The meeting then moved to its more permanent home at Alleston where it remained until 1914.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Baronet of Orielton, Major Herbert, Major Leach, Mr G H Kinderley, Jack Anthony

Principal Races

Pembroke Castle Hurdle, Pembroke Stewards’ Plate, Garrison Plate

Tuesday 8th April 1856
Orielton Hunters Stakes
1. Bono Johnny, grey gelding owned by Mr Edwards
2. Hark Forward, bay gelding owned by Mr Ormond
3. Nigger Girl, bay mare owned by Mr Davis

The final meeting took place on Thursday 7th April 1859.
Course today

On a 2 mile round course on the Orielton estate owned by the Baron of Orielton.

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:-

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 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.
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  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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