Richard Gauthier Collection

Newmarket Racecourse

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On Wednesday 27th February 1605 James I visited Newmarket and realised that the wide open expanses made it the perfect place to stage sporting events, although it was to be 17 years later before the earliest record of a match on Newmarket Heath took place on Friday 8th March 1622. Charles II, the Merry Monarch, founded the Newmarket Town Plate in 1665, going on to win it twice himself, firstly on 14th October 1671 and later in the spring of 1675. King’s Plates were staged regularly each August and October in the early 18th century, with special mention given to the years 1716 to 1718. The earliest race recorded in Baily’s Racing Register was on 1st April 1716 when Mr Pelham’s chestnut mare Brocklesby Betty defeated the Duke of Devonshire’s mare to claim 100 Guineas. Six months later the October meeting provided 11 days of racing, with the earliest result shown below. The Jockey Club was founded in 1750, organising the first Jockey Club Stakes, restricted to Jockey Club members, on Wednesday 1st April 1752. Over the next sixty years the racing calendar was boosted by a number of classic races, including the 2000 Guineas in 1809 when won by Wizard, and the 1000 Guineas in 1814 when won by Charlotte. Between 1915 and 1918 the Derby and Oaks were run at Newmarket; the 1915 Derby was won by Mr S.B.Joel's Pommern ridden by Steve Donoghue, while Gainsborough won the 1918 Derby. A substitute St Leger was also run at Newmarket during this period, although it was named the September Stakes. Between 1940 and 1945 the mile and a half July course was used for the Derby and Oaks during the War years, Dante, under the guidance of Billy Nevett, winning the last of them. The St Leger was transferred from Doncaster between 1942 and 1945, contested over the one mile six furlongs of the Summer Course, with Sun Chariot winning the first of these.  Currently the course stages 39 fixtures annually.
Monday 1st October 1716
His Majesty’s 100 Guineas Plate
Four mile heats for 6 year olds each carrying 12 stone

1. Coneyskins, grey horse owned by the Duke of Rutland
2. Country Wench, grey mare owned by Mr Egerton

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