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Earliest meeting: Friday 27th July 1770
Final meeting: Thursday 23rd August 1787
The Northamptonshire town of Potterspury contained Wakefield Lawn, an estate which belonged to the Duke of Grafton. Throughout history cherished a close association with horses, and in the middle of the 17th century was used as a hunting ground by Oliver Cromwell. In the early 1700s it was purchased by Charles Fitzroy, the Second Duke of Grafton, and over the next 40 years a Castle was built and the gardens and parks landscaped. In due course the castle also became a stud farm and races were held in the substantial grounds. The earliest record shows a meeting took place on Friday 27th July 1770 after which an Ordinary was served at the Bull Inn, Stony Stratford. The meeting opened with a £50 Purse in which Lord March’s bay horse Sportsman beat Hackney. The feature race, the Weight for Age Sweepstakes, went to Lord Farnham’s Slouch. Meetings continued on a regular basis, the next being on Thursday 16th July 1772. The final meeting took place on Thursday 23rd August 1787 when the opening Subscription Race went to Mr C Hindley’s Woodlark, while the concluding Sweepstake was won by Mr Vernon’s Busy.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Grafton, Lord March, Lord Grosvenor, Lord Pigott
Principal Races Wakefield Lawn Weight for Age Handicap. Wakefield Lawn Sweepstake

Friday 27th July 1770
Wakefield Lawn Weight for Age Sweepstake over 4 miles
1. Slouch, chestnut colt owned by Lord Farnham
2. Snip, grey colt owned by Mr Shaftoe
3. Bells Arabian, grey colt owned by Lord Grosvenor
4. Captain, chestnut mare owned by Lord Pigott

The final meeting took place on Thursday 23rd August 1787.
Course today On the substantial estate of Wakefield Lawn owned by the Duke of Grafton.
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.
Download an order form
  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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