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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 20th March 1838
Final meeting: Saturday 7th April 1900
The first record of hunting in Westmeath was in the early part of the 18th century when the Packenham family kept a stable and hounds on their estate at Pakenham Hall. However, it was over a century later that race meetings, administered by the Westmeath Hunt Committee, were staged initially on the Newbrook course. The Sporting Magazine of 1838 reported on a meeting on Tuesday 20th March 1838 at which the principal event was the Challenge Urn which was won by Mr Rully’s Royal Tar. The next year a two day meeting was held on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd April 1839 on a course within 2 miles of Mullingar. The feature event on day one, the Westmeath Urn, was won by Sir Percy Nugent’s Hornsby, while on the second day the Silver Salver went to Mr T McEvoy’s Slug. The very next year, on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th March 1840 the prestigious Westmeath Challenge Cup saw Mr Reynell’s Priam defeat Don Cataract and Harry Hotspur. The appeal of the turf and the accessibility to ordinary punters was improved significantly when the railway network was extended in 1852. However, the Company were ever mindful of making sure that they linked sponsorship of their Railway Plates to the potential for increased revenue from their trains, even to the extent of offering just a small sponsorship if a chosen celebrity did not attend the meeting, but doubling its sponsorship if the celebrity attended. In the 1890s the meetings were advertised as South Westmeath Hunt races, with the card on Monday 10th April 1894 beginning with a Private Race restricted to officers quartered at Athlone. The 3 mile race, for a piece of silver plate, was won by John Gaynor’s Sunfield who defeated Lapwing and Bridewell, but the day finished in disappointing style with a minor Farmers Race and a pony race. The final meeting took place on Saturday 7th April 1900.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Castlemaine, Sir Percy Nugent, Mr Dooley, Mr P Butler, Mr Persse
Principal Races Westmeath Challenge Urn, The Newbrook Stakes, Mallingar Salver, Westmeath Challange Cup

The article below is from the Dublin Weekly Register giving results from the Steeplechase meeting at Westmeath on Tuesday 2nd April 1839, and is provided courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive Online.

Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th March 1840

The Westmeath Challenge Cup over 2 miles
1. Priam owned by Mr Reynell
2. Don Cataract owned by Mr Tuite
3. Harry Hotspur owned by Mr Levinge

The Mallingar Salver
1. Tidings owned by Mr Conolly
2. Harkaway owned by Mr D Blaquier
3. Mullingar Heifer owned by Mr Callanan

Saturday 23rd April 1898

The Newbrook Stakes over 2 miles
1. Lady Vic II owned by Mr Dooley
2. Roskey Belle owned by Mr P Butler
3. Tunic owned by Mr Persse

The final meeting took place on Saturday 7th April 1900.
Course today A nomadic group which used many courses, including Newbrook and Mullingar.
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.
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
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