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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 26th March 1845
Final meeting: Wednesday 2nd September 1874
Wharfedale is one of the Yorkshire Dales around the upper valley of the River Wharfe. It includes picturesque villages and towns, historical sites like Bolton Abbey, and areas of outstanding beauty like Burley-in-Wharfedale. Racing took place at a number of venues over a 30 year period, including Newall, Otley, Burley and Ilkley. One of the earliest steeplechase meetings was on Wednesday 26th March 1845 on a course just outside Otley Bridge. The opening Subscription Stakes saw Wild Boy beat Nimrod and Sir Harry. In 1846 the meeting was held in Otley, while the next year it was staged closer to the village of Newall. A new 3 mille course was used on Monday 20th March 1848 on land owned by Mr J W Scriven from Otley to Weston. The opening Free Handicap was won by Mr Bowman’s Erebus who got the better of Todrider and Polly Pots. The principal race, the Farmers’ Sweepstakes, saw Clementina win for owner Mr Newburn. There were prolonged periods of racing between 1864 and 1869 in Burley-inn-Wharfedale, while a further series of races were held in Ilkley between 1870 and 1874. While races not under rules continued in the area for some time, the final 2 day meeting under rules was held on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September 1874.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr J W Scriven, Mr George Rhodes, Mr William Brumfitt
Principal Races Wharfedale Steeplechase, Wharfedale Sweepstakes

Monday 20th March 1848
Farmers’ Sweepstakes over 3 miles
1. Clementina, grey mare owned by Mr Newburn
2. Paddy Whack, chestnut gelding owned by Mr Allen
3. Miss Side, chestnut mare owned by Mr Batty

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 2nd September 1874.

Course today At a range of courses near Newall, Otley, Burley and Ilkley.
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
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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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