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Important Races

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Race Course Gazeteer

  Principal Race Courses in the U.K.

    Berkshire: Ascot, Newbury

    Cheshire: Chester

    Lancashire: Haydock

    Middlesex: Sunbury

    Northumberland: Newcastle

    Suffolk: Newmarket

    Surrey: Epsom, Esher

    Sussex: Goodwood

    Yorkshire: Doncaster, York

    Ireland: County Dublin

    Ireland: County Kildare

    Scotland: Ayr

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  Gazeteer: Race Courses of Great Britain and Ireland
graphic

Geographic Listing Ordered by County and Month
Compiled and Written by Nigel Pullen

SCOTLAND

AYRSHIRE -- Ayr

The first steeplechase recorded in Scotland took place at Bogside on April 25, 1839 (won by Lord Eglinton on his horse, Coventry, and the first Scottish Grand National took place there in 1867, won by the Duke of Hamilton's The Elk. Ayr, situated on the Firth of Clyde, has long been a center of horse racing. The Scottish Grand National has been held on the site since 1966, when it was moved from the old Bogside course, and it continues to be a site for National Hunt Fixtures, as well as flat racing. The Ayr flat course is a 1 mile-4 furlong oval with a 4 furlong straight run to the winning post on slightly rising ground; with its rain-soaked ground, it can be a challenging test of stamina. [Corrections kindly provided by Nick Short]

Racing was held at Bogside (Irvine), fourteen miles from Ayr, over part of the Earl of Eglinton's land, further back than 1636, and for a time a local, unrecognized meet called the Irvine Merrymass Races was held there. Bogside racing was first noted in the Racing Calendar in 1808. The Bogside course, for most of its existence, was an oval with a three furlong run-in, and included a six furlong straight. [Information kindly provided by Derek Gay]
The Ayr diagram

AYR GOLD CUP

First Run: 1804
Month Run: September
Venue: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
Distance: 6 furlongs
Status:Handicap for 3 year olds and upwards
First run on 16th October 1804, and won by Chancellor, this race was originally contested over two heats of 2 miles. That same afternoon Chancellor also competed in the Ayr Subscription of 50, consisting of four heats of 4 miles, and finished second, thus completing over 20 miles in a single afternoon! In complete contrast, the race is now run over the straight 6 furlongs course, attracting a field of the best sprint handicappers.




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