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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 26th March 1845
Final meeting: Wednesday 30th March 1864
The West Yorkshire market town of Otley, on the River Wharfe, is steeped in history having been recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book when known as Othelia. Races took place at a number of venues across the Yorkshire Dales area of Wharfedale, but the first meeting in the vicinity of Otley was on Wednesday 26th March 1845 on a 3 mile course near Otley Bridge. The Subscription Stakes was won by Wild Boy from Nimrod and Sir Harry. The next year the meeting was on Wednesday 25th February 1846 on a difficult course with sudden turns, stiff fences, broad ditches and bumpy terrain. In the principal race Mr Sampson’s Mercury got the better of Fanny Gray and Free Tracker. Meetings were scheduled to coincide with Otley Feast and on Tuesday 7th August 1855 the Wharfedale Sweepstakes took place across pastures owned by Mr Abel Holmes, between Otley and Farnley. The race was won by Mr Barrett’s Billy Moody in front of Alice Gray. Meetings continued in the area until a final card was staged on Wednesday 30th March 1864.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Barratt, Mr George Rhodes
Principal Races Otley Stakes, Wharfedale Stakes, Otley Farmers’ Stakes

Tuesday 7th August 1855
Wharfedale Stakes
1. Billy Moody, aged horse owned by Mr Barrett
2. Alice Gray, aged mare owned by Mr Walker
3. Marla Monk, aged horse owned by Mr Matson

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 30th March 1864.

Course today Initially at Otley Bridge and then over pastures between Otley and Farnley.
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.
Download an order form
  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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