williamhill.com WOORE RACECOURSE

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The North Shropshire village of Woore today boasts a population of barely 1,500, but until 1963 sustained a National Hunt Racecourse. The racecourse was situated some 2 miles South of the village at Pipe Gate, on farmland owned by Mr Icke but leased to Woore Racecourse Company, but the course was well served by a railway station first opened in 1870. However, passenger services ceased in 1956 and this presented a challenge to racegoers wishing to attend Woore Racecourse. The first recorded races at Woore were in 1883, although the course proved to be unsatisfactory and was not used again. Racing returned to Woore in 1885 at their new course at Pipe Gate and remained there for the duration of racing in the village. The course was just a mile in circumference, left handed and very sharp with horses constantly on a turn.

The busiest period for Woore racecourse was between the wars. There was only a wooden Grandstand, but the meeting proved to be popular for National Hunt enthusiasts. Indeed, in 1937 the meeting was graced by the presence of King George VI when his horse, Slam, won the main race of the day.

Local Patrons King George VI
Principal Races Woore Chase, Foxhunters Open Chase, Betton Hurdle
Meetings  
Shown opposite is a rare example of a Woore day badge. It is not known whether a metal Annual Members badge was ever issued. Woore 1955s.JPG (26891 bytes)
The third man from the left is George 'Judder' Martin, aged 88, he is the font of all knowledge of Woore racecourse.

The very last racecard provided by a lifelong Woore Racecourse enthusiast Dave Francis.

With grateful thanks to Dave Francis for the scan. His Uncle Henry, at the ripe old age of 93, has fond memories of going to Mucklestone races on Easter Saturday, and following it up with a visit to Woore on Easter Monday. Many a horse running on the Saturday would turn out again at Woore on the Monday. He recalls Mucklestone was held just once a year, but Woore, based on Racecourse Farm owned by John Icke, would draw crowds in excess of 1500.

John Moran has fond memories of his local track, Woore Racecourse. He remembers "The Private" ridden by Bobby Beasley winning on Saturday 23rd Oct. 1962. Roy Whiston trained close by and we all used to have a day out there. Although it was only small, I have been there when it was packed, no room on the old wooden grandstand. A lovely little course, lovely weather on a summers day and National Hunt racing at the "grass roots" in 1960-1961; it could never have got much better, memory never fades despite the passing of time.

The final meeting took place on 1st June 1963.

I am grateful to Jon Seddon for providing a grid reference to help locate the old racecourse and link to a map courtesy of Google.
http://gridreferencefinder.com/gmap.php?lt=53.423051&lg=-1.3544029#

Course today

Very little evidence of a racecourse having existed, although part of the racecourse stables still exists.

See the photographic evidence shown above kindly provided by Dave Francis.

The front cover/ principal races from this rare racecard are provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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 johnslusar@fsmail.net

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