WYE RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 29th May 1849
Final meeting: Thursday 2nd May 1974
When Ashford racecourse closed in 1840 it seemed likely that this region of Kent would be without a racecourse. However, within 8 years another meeting was staged between Ashford and Wye in fields adjoining the works of the South Eastern Rail Company on Monday 10th July 1848. Within a year the first recorded meeting took place at Wye Racecourse at The Crown, a local landmark feature in the hillside, on Tuesday 29th May 1849 on a flat piece of ground on the Downs. The course extended to 1 ¾ miles with a 6 furlong straight run in. The meeting continued to offer flat racing at this venue, but gradually added hurdle races to the programme, operating at the same course for almost 30 years. On Wednesday 29th May 1878 the last flat race at Wye was staged when the 5 furlong Olanleigh Towers Handicap Plate was won by the aptly named Maid of Wye. By then the meeting had moved to what was to become its permanent home at Harville Farm, next to Wye railway station, on a course which was less than one mile round and more suited to a greyhound track than a racecourse. In 1925 the Farm was purchased by John Long, and he and his family ran the course as a private business, passing it down through the family via son Bedo and grandson Philip. Wye could never be classed as the ideal preparation for a tilt at the Champion Hurdle, but nevertheless some horses did use it as a preparation for the big race. In March 1970 the Deal Hurdle was won by Escalus, owned by the Queen Mother, and then went on to contest the Champion Hurdle, finishing a creditable third behind Persian War. The final National Hunt meeting took place on 2nd May 1974.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr B Land, Mr B Sherratt, Mr C Formby
Principal Races Wye Centenary Chase, Wye Sweepstake

Wednesday 30th May 1855

Wye Mile and a Half Sweepstakes
1. Vestige owned by Mr B Land
2. Merrythought owned by Mr Sherrard
3. Evening Star owned by Mr Barling

Wye Auction Sweepstakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Grey Chicken owned by Mr B Land
2. Lady Blanche owned by Mr Formby
3. The Doctor owned by Mr Barling

Wye One Mile Sweepstakes
1. Dartford owned by Mr B Land
2. Prevarication owned by Mr B Sherrard
3. Diminutive owned by Mr C Formby

Wye a.JPG (52220 bytes) wye 1962.JPG (25354 bytes)
Wye East Kent Club.JPG (7311 bytes)
The final National Hunt meeting took place on Thursday 2nd May 1974, but Flat racing finished at the course in 1878.
Course today

Initially at The Crown and then at Harville Farm adjacent to the railway station.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

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 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 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
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