Richard Gauthier Collection

Lingfield Racecourse

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The Surrey racecourse of Lingfield, on the edge of London, held its first National Hunt meeting on Saturday 15th November 1890 at a time when a number of other London fringe courses were opening. Hurst Park, in the Sunbury-on-Thames area, and Gatwick to the south of the capital both opened within a year of Lingfield, competing for the same crowds. A lowly Selling race launched that first card, with Old Tatt prevailing, but fortunately old tatt in no way described the glorious new surroundings and beautiful open countryside around the course. Within four years the course had introduced Flat racing, the opening meeting taking place on Wednesday 16th May 1894 graced by the Prince of Wales. The Globe reported on the meeting which began with a lowly Selling race over 5 furlongs with the result shown below. The course closed for the duration of the War, but in 1920 Gordon Richards had his first ride in public when Clock Work, carrying just 6st 9lb, failed to win. In 1927 the grandstand was completed, while the first Lingfield Derby trial was staged in 1932, Lingfield having many similarities with Epsom. That first trial was won by April the Fifth in the hands of F.Lane, with an Oaks Trial following a year later. Once again the course closed between 1939 and 1945 when used as a Prisoner of War camp, but was relaunched in 1946 when Major John Crocker Bulteel was at the helm. In 1974 Lingfield’s very future was in danger when the owners, the Beckwith-Smith family, put it on the market, but the Ladbrokes boss, Cyril Stein, formed a consortium to purchase it for half a million. Ron Muddle bought it in 1982; Leisure Investments in 1988; and by 1989 a meeting on 30th October launched Lingfield as the first all-weather course. Currently the course stages 86 fixtures annually.

Wednesday 16th May 1894
Oxted Selling Welter Handicap over 5 furlongs

1. Baroness, 4 year old owned by Mr Longe 10/1
2. Red Cent, 5 year old owned by Mr Ralli 8/1
3. La Poorbreak, 3 year old owned by Captain Whitaker 9/2

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