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Earliest meeting: Thursday 30th October 1851
Final meeting: Friday 31st October 1851
The large Merseyside town of St Helens today has a population in excess of 100,000. Historically it was part of Lancashire and lies just 6 miles north of the River Mersey. It started to increase in size in the 18th century when firstly coal mining, and afterwards glassmaking, made it a wealthy industrial area. It became a municipal borough in 1868 when it joined with Eccleston, Parr, Sutton and Windle. The town is close to the present day racecourse of Haydock Park and the former racecourse of Newton-le-Willows, but in the mid-1800s it held its own race meeting. The two day  meeting took place on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st October 1851 and was unusual because the first days racing was around the racecourse, while the highlight of the second day was a steeplechase in fields surrounding the racecourse. On the Thursday the Trial Stakes was won by Mr Bond’s Little Archie, while the Denton Green Hurdle went to Mr Wright’s Physic. The concluding race on the first day was the Handicap Sweepstake which was won by Mr Bond’s Young Thalia. On the Friday the focus switched to steeplechasing, although the event was very badly managed. Despite a number of officials being appointed, they absented themselves when riders asked to walk the course. As a consequence, Neale took the wrong course with his horse Isaac and was subsequently disqualified. The course, almost 2 miles in length, was across 4 fields surrounding the racecourse which runners traversed twice to complete 3 ½ miles and cross 28 leaps. Starting at the rear of the grandstand, the runners skirted the Ormskirk road and continued over the brow of Cooley Hill to Mrs Pakenham’s farm before doing it all again on a second circuit. The finishing pole was the usual judge’s chair in front of the grandstand and the first to reach it was Mr J Henderson’s Barrister.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr W Pilkington jnr, Mr J R Barrow, Mr A Monbert
Principal Races St Helens Handicap Steeplechase, Denton Green Hurdle

Friday 31st October 1851
St Helens Handicap Steeplechase over 3 ½ miles
1. Barrister, chestnut gelding owned by Mr J Henderson
2. Heroine, brown mare owned by Mr S Wainwright
3. Clatterbox, black mare owned by Mr Peyton
Disq. Isaac, grey gelding owned by Mr Tiernan

The only recorded meeting took place on Friday 31st October 1851.

Course today A 2 mile course adjacent to the Ormskirk road in sight of Cooley Hill.
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

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 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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