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Earliest meeting: August 1630
Final meeting: Friday 20th August 1880
Although a note in a diary does confirm that racing took place on Port Meadow as early as 1630, the University city of Oxford first held races where results were made available on Friday 22nd August 1727 when Baily’s Racing Register provided detailed results showing Lord Essex had won the 60 Guineas Purse with Smiling Ball, forcing the Duke of Bridgewater’s Foxhunter into third place. The racecourse received the backing of some high powered names, including the Dukes of Marlborough and Bridgewater.  The course at Port Meadow, on the outskirts of the city, was an oval, flat course of 2 miles with a 4 furlong run-in which was also used for sprints. At the two day meeting on Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th August 1762 the Oxford Purse went to Mr Hilliar’s Fair Rachel, while on the second day the Ladies Plate was secured by Sweepstakes, beating Leopard and Aeolus. The prestigious Oxford Cup, contested over 2 miles, was won by the 4/6 favourite Burringdon for Mr Parker on Tuesday 23rd July 1728. Racing continued to be supported until 1843 when there was a brief lapse for 5 years. However, after a short revival in 1848 there was a more prolonged period of racing from 1859 when the Trial Stakes was won by Misty Morn, the Headington Hill Stakes by Fravola and the Port Meadow Stakes by Queen Bess on Thursday 25th August 1859. The final meeting was staged at Port Meadow on Friday 20th August 1880.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Lord Portmore, Lord Essex, Sir J Dashwood, Sir C Sedley, Duke of Marlborough, Duke of Bridgewater,Lord R Spencer, Captain Bertie,Mr Mytton, Mr C Day

Principal Races Duke of Malborough Stakes,Oxford Cup, City Members Plate

Friday 22nd August 1727

Oxford 60 Guineas Purse
1. Smiling Ball owned by Lord Essex
2. Frosty Face owned by Mr Thorp
3. Foxhunter owned by The Duke of Bridgewater

24th to 26th August 1762

Oxford 2 mile Purse
1. Fair Rachael owned by Mr Hilliar
2. Ramper owned by Sir J Dashwood
3. Cantharides owned by Mr Hall

Oxford Ladies Plate over 2 miles
1. Sweepstakes owned by Mr Dutton
2. Leopard owned by Mr Bowles
3. Aeolus owned by Sir C Sedley

Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th July 1782

Oxford Cup run over 2 miles
1. Burringdon owned by Mr Parker
2. Rosemary owned by Lord R Spencer
3. Critic owned by Mr Shirley
The winner wore Green with a Black cap and was 4/6 favourite.

The Duke of Marlborough Stakes over 3 miles
1. Critic owned by Mr Lambourne
2. Fox owned by Mr Shute
3. John-a-Nokes owned by Captain Bertie
The winner was 2/5 favourite.

The picture below is by Charles Turner and is in the public domain because the artists died more than 100 years ago in 1857.

Tuesday 17th August to Wednesday 18th August 1824

Oxfordshire Stakes over 2 miles
1. Euphrates owned by Mr Mytton
2. Escape owned by Mr Fellowes
3. Melampus owned by Mr C Day

Oxford Cup over 4 miles
1. Triumph owned by Mr Sadler
2. Cephalus owned by Mr Ramsbottom
3. Melampus owned by Mr C Day

City Members Plate over 2 miles
1. Speculator owned by Mr Weller
2. Gleaner owned by Mr J Stevens
3. Unfortunate owned by Mr Faulkner

The final meeting took place on Friday 20th August 1880.
Course today At Port Meadow on the outskirts of the city.
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:-

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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Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
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