STOCKBRIDGE RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 28th August 1753
Final meeting: Thursday 7th July 1898
Stockbridge racecourse, in Hampshire, was originally situated on Houghton Down just 2 miles from the town centre and can boast a history of racing before 1775. Indeed, the first meeting took place on Tuesday 28th August 1753 when Sir F Moore’s Merlin needed the minimum of two heats to defeat the Duke of Hamilton’s Figure. Two days later the meeting ended when Lord Craven’s bay mare Sophie took the 4 year old Match over 3 miles. The Bibury Club, which was founded in the 17th century, first organised races in 1792, holding them at Burford racecourse, after which they transferred to Cheltenham and eventually to Stockbridge where such races as the Bibury Stakes, the Champagne Stakes and the Stockbridge Cup Stakes were held. By 1839 a new course, close to the old one, had been developed on Danebury Hill in the parishes of Nether Wallop and Longstock. The two day meeting from Thursday 20th to Friday 21st June 1839 opened with the Produce Stakes which went to Fulwar Craven’s Deception, while the prestigious Stockbridge Handicap Stakes saw General Grosvenor’s Merrythought beat Alumnus and Specimen. A new grandstand was constructed for the use of Bibury Club Members only, although in 1839 they were still hosting their own separate meetings. A notable visitor to Stockbridge was King Edward VII, who whilst still Prince of Wales saw his horse, Counterpane, come last in the Stockbridge Cup and then fall down dead. The final meeting took place on Thursday 7th July 1898, after which the Bibury Club forged a partnership with Salisbury. The land on the eastern edge of the racecourse was inherited by Marianne Vaudrey and she disapproved of gambling, refusing to extend the lease. Unfortunately the Jockey Club insisted that all racecourses should have a straight mile, and Stockbridge’s extended into the Vaudrey land.

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

King Edward VII, Earl of Grosvenor, Bibury Club

Principal Races Bibury Stakes, Stockbridge Cup Stakes, Champagne Stakes, Produce Stakes, Earl of Grosvenor Purse

Tuesday 28th August 1753

Stockbridge £50 Race for horses never to have won a King’s Plate
1. Merlin, a bay horse owned by Sir F Moore 1 1
2. Figure, a grey horse owned by the Duke of Hamilton 3 2
3. Trojan, a bay horse owned by Mr Bowles

Wednesday 29th August 1753

Stockbridge Sweepstakes Match
1. Unnamed bay horse owned by Mr Thistlethwaite
2. Unnamed grey mare owned by Sir Thomas Heathcote

Thursday 30th August 1753

Stockbridge 4 year old £50 match over 3 miles
1. Sophie, a bay mare owned by Lord Craven
2. Betty Thoughtless, a bay mare owned by Mr Bowles

Thursday 25th & Friday 26th June 1829

Stockbridge 3 year old Sweepstakes over a mile
1. Windrush owned by Mr Dilly
2. Lusher owned by Mr Biggs
3. Negress owned by Mr Shard

Stockbridge Hunters Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Moses owned by Mr Chambers
2. Brownlock owned by Mr Mills
3. Sunshine owned by Mr De Burgh

Earl of Grosvenor 50 Pound Purse over a mile
1. Unnamed filly by Oiseau owned by Mr J Day
2. Hercules owned by Mr Wiltshire
3. Baleine owned by Mr Dilly

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that the Bibury Club now hold their races at Stockbridge, but when they first organised races back in 1801 they were held at Burford, and then moved to Cheltenham. The records for the July 1839 meeting had such races as :-
Bibury Stakes over 2 miles;
Champagne Stakes & Produce Stakes over a mile;
Stockbridge Cup Stakes over a mile and a half;
Andover Stakes over a mile.

With thanks to Eric Graham for the picture of the racecourse.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 7th July 1898.
Course today Originally on Houghton Down and then on Danebury Hill.

For further reading I suggest 'Days at the races, A History of Stockbridge Racecourse' by Anthony C Raper ISBN 0 903755 22X

Also delighted to announce the publication of :-

Stockbridge Racecourse - The Last Ten Years 1889 – 1898: http://archive.org/details/StockbridgeRacecourse-The LastTenYears1889-1898
Stockbridge Racecourse - The Hastings' Era 1862 – 1868:
http://archive.org/details/StockbridgeRacecourse-TheHastingsEra1862-1868
Future publication expected in the Autumn, Stockbridge returns 1879-1888 with biographies of the 'John Day’.

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.
ORDER FORM
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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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Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com