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Hurst Park

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    Following on from the thread on Derby racecourse is tehre any one here who actually went to Hurst Park and can remember anything about it?

    Ok. Its a bloody long shot and chances are if u did go you would be at an age where you dont remember anything…

    This course fascinates me. I grew up (and still live) very close by and its remarkable that there was a course which was almost walking distance from one (Kempton) and a short drive to another (sandown)

    Think they ran the triumph hurdle there too?

    Its a housing estate now but would have been a sweet location being right by a nice part of the thames

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    My only link was occasionally managing the betting shop on the housing estate about 12 years ago…

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    there was a book called "It was a long time ago" which researched old racecourses.  I don’t think many copies got published, but it may hold some info on Hurst Park.

    Chris Pitt of the West Midlands Racing Club, was the author.


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    I was thinking last week about the Manchester November handicap, and found this piece on Google about the now defunct course where it used to be run:

    "On a summer’s evening a few years ago, I wandered round the back end of Salford and came across the remnants of Manchester Racecourse at Castle Irwell, and a modern cantilevered stand, staring forlornly into the middle of nowhere. Inglis says the stand was built in 1961 and was the first at any British sporting venue to feature "private viewing boxes".

    It was designed by Ernest Atherden, a young Mancunian architect much influenced by the designs used for the 1960 Rome Olympics. Atherden then got the commission to redesign Manchester United’s ground, brought the board out to Castle Irwell and persuaded them, "not without difficulty", to have similar boxes at Old Trafford. Thus was born the modern age of corporate sporting hospitality.

    By then, however, the Castle Irwell prototype was already redundant. Manchester Racecourse had always been both foggy and boggy, and in the early 1960s its financial problems were mounting, not helped by the cost of paying for Atherden’s new stand. So the company sold out to developers, the course closed and the area would have been turned into a housing estate had not the scheme fallen at a public inquiry. Now the stand is a students’ union building, and is apparently haunted by the ghost of a long-gone jockey. "

    There must be quite a few people still around who remember the place.

    The only racecourse I’ve visited which is now no more is Teesside Park, which is now a large shopping area and cinema complex. I remember the Princess Royal(then Princess Anne) once rode there.

    I also recall the names of Lincoln, Lanark, Wye and Alexandra Park(Ally Pally or ‘the frying pan’).

    Birmingham also rings a bell.

    (Edited by Artemis at 12:57 pm on Nov. 12, 2006)

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    Long Time Gone is about to get a paper back release…


    Great book – get it ordered!

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    Quote: from carlisle on 12:32 pm on Nov. 12, 2006[br]Hi

    there was a book called "It was a long time ago" which researched old racecourses.  I don’t think many copies got published, but it may hold some info on Hurst Park.

    <br>A Long Time Gone, to be totally precise, and Hurst Park is certainly covered in it – as, Artemis, is Birmingham.

    The former Rugby NH track survives as Clifton-upon-Dunsmore PtP, and is well worth a visit. Bogside, Lincoln and Lanark have been used in the same capacity in recent times, but no longer.


    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

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    Hi all

    thanks for the info. I thought I hadn’t got it quite right.


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    It was when the Triumph was run at Hurst Park that Lester Piggott rode Prince Charlemagne to victory in it.

    I seem to recall that the irrepressible Terry Downes was one of he people involved in the (regrettable) development of the track for housing.

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    Thanks all


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    <br>I don’t live far from what was Teesside Park and although I do my xmas shopping at the shopping complex on the site, it would be great to have a track like that around here now. (I was born 5 yrs after it closed admittedly) Red Rum ran a few times there apparently but am I right in thinking that it housed both flat & jumps racing?

    I’ve only seen a birds-eye view image so can anyone enlighten me as to how good the quality of racing was, and what was the general lay-out (which current track if any, was it most like?)

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    Don’t remember much about Stockton, though I have a vague memory of one meeting being covered on television but it did host flat racing and it was probably on the flat that Red Rum ran.


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    <br>As I remember it, Stockton was a big l-h oval that resembled Wetherby over jumps and Redcar on the flat.

    Someone with the Red Rum biography can confirm, but I suspect he ran there over hurdles as a 4 or 5-y-old, when he was trained in Yorkshire by (I think) Tommy Shedden.

    I just missed out on Hurst Park, but I did have the chance to go racing at Wye in the late 60’s, where I saw Bob Champion ride his first winner under rules in a novice chase for Toby Balding. Wye was very similar in layout to Plumpton, but even sharper with only one hurdle and fence in the straight before the finish. The inside rail was actually an electrified fence designed to prevent the sheep that grazed in the middle of the track from wandering during the racing. It’s closure was celebrated by all jump jockeys!


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    Lester’s grandad won the 1917 Grand National at Gatwick, in a race contested by a few subsequent Aintree National winners: … twick.html

    <br>best regards


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    Yep Stockton (Mandale Marshes) was a flat LH oval of about 1m6f with 5 and 6f chutes. Dual purpose though jumping wasn’t introduced until the late ’60s following the construction of a new NH course, the building of which was a condition of a reprieve granted by the Levy Board which had chosen the course – along with such as Lewes, Lincoln and Bogside – for closure in 1963.

    The opening of the NH course also saw the change of name to Teesside Park. The inaugural NH season was terminated by the 67/68 foot-and-mouth outbreak.

    The NH meetings were popular with the public throughout the 70s though jockeys and trainers weren’t that keen on the fences or the going after rainfall which had a tendency to become very gluey. The Flat meetings were unpopular due to them being all on weekday afternoons and being on a par with, say, Catterick today quality wise; the course made an overall loss by staging them. In ’78 the course was renamed Stockton again and all Flat meetings were cancelled for the foreseeable future though a few NH meetings took place. Flat was reintroduced in ’80 and the last meeting took place on Royal Ascot Tuesday 1981 after which the terminally ill patient was put to sleep.

    Prior to the course being built over there were vague ideas about introducing an AW course.

    With thanks to Chris Pitt (again).

    Remember having the occasional bet at Stockton in the mid-seventies (a winner ridden by Johnny Seagrave springs to mind) though for the life of me can’t remember the NH meetings at all though I had little interest in that code back then I’m ashamed to say.

    So the last course in the UK to close, hot on the heels of Lanark in ’78.

    If one were to close now Folkestone would be my ‘least missed’ though I’ve never been there and  no doubt the United Hunts’ meeting has its share of ardent supporters

    …on second thoughts it’s a toss up with Brighton which I did visit some years ago and hadn’t seemed to have changed much since the days of Pinky and his Razor Gang.

    (Edited by Drone at 9:40 am on Nov. 13, 2006)

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    Its strange how racecourses seem to have developed in small clusters

    Kempton, Sandown, Epsom, Hurst Park, Windsor …and yet nothing in Herts or essex

    Brighton, Plumpton, lewes, Gatwick, Fontwell, lingfield….and yet just Folkestone in the whole of kent

    and then all the north yorks courses but lancashire just granted Haydock (chester and aintree i suppose)

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