150 memories and milestones to mark Redcar’s 150th anniversary

Ahead of our 150th anniversary on August 9, we set out to collect 150 points of interest for our Treasure Chest of Memories, to be unveiled in time for pirates descending for the Caribbean Carnival Family Day meeting on August 6.

Thank you to everyone who sent in their contributions. Who’d have thought Redcar could have crammed in so much to one and a half centuries!

It makes fascinating reading and the winner of 4 VIP tickets for the best Treasure Chest entry is Maria Ferguson (see number 150).

The early years
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1. It is not known when racing first took place at Redcar but the Redcar Race Committee was formed in 1850. Back then, Redcar Races were held on the sands, the run-in was roped, the judge was based in a bathing van, and the stewards used a farm wagon.

2. The Chairman in those days was John Hikeley, who owned the Lobster Inn in Coatham.

3. At one meeting on the beach, a race was held between foxhounds and racehorses to discover which were faster. Unfortunately, the trail left for the hounds blew into the sea and the race ended in a fiasco. Here are some reports of meetings on the sands in 1863 and 1866.

 

 

4. The final meeting on the sands was held in 1870, with the big race – The Cleveland Hunt Cup – won by top jockey John Osborne. The prize was £30.

5. John Hikeley and a group of local sportsmen approached Mr AHT Newcomen, of Kirkleatham Hall, and secured a twenty-one-year lease on the present course. Thomas Dawson was appointed Clerk of the Course and was responsible for putting in drains, levelling the track and returfing where necessary.

6. The first meeting at the present course was held “on ground adjoining the gasworks” on August 9, 1872. Admission to the Grandstand enclosure was six shillings, and admission to the Course enclosure was two pennies.

7. The first ever race at the course was the Zetland Welter Handicap Plate for gentlemen riders and was won by Mr John Osborne’s Wetherby.

8. In the Kirkleatham Plate on that first day, St Paul’s and Little Duchess fought out a close finish, “the others having run out at the turn, did not pass the post”. The other winners were Little John, St Paul’s, Mineral and Highflyer. Thank you so much to Merlyn Edwards for unearthing the below report of that historic first meeting.

 

 

9. The Redcar & Coatham Grand Stand Company was formed in 1875, with a capital of £4,000 to purchase or lease land, and to erect a building known as the Redcar and Coatham Grand Stand. Mr. Newcomen was the Chairman, and the Earl of Zetland was Vice-Chairman. The Directors decided to spend £2,650 to build a new permanent grandstand to replace a wooden stand. At the Directors’ meeting in September that year the Chairman declared: “Redcar has a stand second to none in the Kingdom."

10. In 1877, it was decided to build a stand for those in the second enclosure.

11.  In 1878, stables were built on the site so horses no longer had to be stabled in the yards of local inns around the town.

12.  In 1879, Redcar Racecourse was placed firmly on the map when the Racing Correspondent from Bailey’s Magazine – the racing paper of the day – described Redcar as having “a pretty stand, convenient business offices, a straight mile, and good going”.

13. In 1884, Mr Newcomen died and was succeeded by Lord Zetland as Chairman (pictured below). Lawrence Dundas, the 1st Marquess of Zetland, was a key player in the opening of the present course, and the Zetland family have been synonymous with Redcar Races ever since.

 

 

14. An extract from an article in Racing Illustrated Magazine, dated August 26, 1896: “Redcar has of late years become quite an institution among the north country racegoers, who in visiting the little Yorkshire watering-place are able to unite the pleasures of their favourite sport with the relaxation of a seaside holiday.” The picture below is from 1896 and shows Silver Fox, ridden by Tom Loates, being led back after a winning at Redcar. And the one below that shows a paddock scene in 1896. (pictures courtesy of Stephen Dixon)

 



15. And here’s an extract from an academic paper, titled The Teesside Seaside, using newspaper reports from the 1920s and 1930s: “Although Teesside had three major resort areas, Redcar (with Coatham) was its main popular resort. Redcar’s popularity had been boosted by its Whitsuntide race meeting, which was a magnet to working-class racegoers throughout the region.”

16. The North-East Daily Gazette reported in 1920 that no less than 200 trains of various kinds would be dealt with at the races, and that ‘all previous records are likely to be eclipsed.’ Below is a racecard from 1927 and some day badges from the 1920s. Below that is a view of Redcar Races from1920. (pictures courtesy of Stephen Dixon)

 


17. According to the Darlington & Stockton Times, there were an estimated 60,000 visitors in the town on Whit Monday, 1936, and 30,000 on the racecourse. 

Feature Races
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18. The ZETLAND GOLD CUP (pictured below), run over one and a quarter miles, continues to be one of Redcar’s most prestigious races. It was first run in 1950 and was won by the favourite Near Way, trained by Sam Hall and ridden by Billy Nevett.

 

 

19. In 1958, the Redcar Five Thousand Handicap Plate was run over the 1 mile 1 furlong straight. Land was subsequently sold off at the top of the racecourse for housing, reducing the course length to the present-day straight mile.

20. In 1959, the first running of the VAUX GOLD TANKARD, run over one mile six furlongs, took place and was won by Morecambe, trained by Sam Hall and ridden by Joe Sime. It was described on early 60s racecards as ‘Europe’s greatest handicap’. The last running was in 1980.

 

 

21. The first running of the WILLIAM HILL GOLD CUP, over the straight mile, also took place in 1959 and was won by Faultless Speech, owned and trained by Mr H Wallington, and ridden by Geoff Lewis. The value to the winner was £6,760. The last William Hill Gold Cup was run in 1980, the year after the racecard pictured below.

 

22. Another of Redcar’s best-known races, THE ANDY CAPP HANDICAP, sponsored by the Daily Mirror to promote its famous comic strip character, was run over one and a quarter miles between 1963 and 1985. The 1963 racecard (pictured below) described it as “The North’s Richest Three-Year-Old Handicap”.

 

 

23. There was a very fitting winner of The Andy Capp Handicap in 1980 when Mirror Boy, owned by the Daily Mirror Punters Club, won the race under Joe Blanks. As the Daily Mirror sponsored the race it was the perfect result. Tragically, Joe died a year later from injuries sustained in a fall at Brighton. He was just 24.

24. Many racegoers in the 60s and early 70s will remember the fresh flower murals that were produced to hang in the winner's enclosure at the VAUX GOLD TANKARD & WILLIAM HILL GOLD CUP meetings. They provided a magnificent backdrop to the pictures taken of the winning horses and their connections. The photographs were used on the front and back covers of the racecards for the following year's meetings, making those cards collector’s items.

25. In 1989, Lord Zetland was responsible for introducing the innovative and prestigious TWO YEAR OLD TROPHY, which continues to be Redcar’s richest race, and will be run for the 34th time this year. Formerly a Class 2, it became a listed Class 1 race in 2004 and is run over six furlongs. The first running was won by Osario, ridden by Brian Rouse and trained by Richard Hannon.

 

 

26. In 1992, the Racecall Gold Trophy (as it was originally called) nearly didn’t take place because of torrential rain. The race was won by Pips Pride, trained by Richard Hannon Snr and ridden by Dean McKeown, deputizing for the injured Frankie Dettori. The rest of the card was abandoned after the big race. Thank you to Paul Stephenson for passing on a lovely memory of the great Peter O’Sullevan commentating on that race. In his commentary O'Sullevan described the race as "the worst conditions it's ever likely to be run in". "www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p63huSjE_I

27. THE GUISBOROUGH STAKES, introduced in 2003, is a listed Class 1 race, run over seven furlongs, and takes place in early October. The race’s leading trainer is Saeed bin Suroor with three winners – Gonfilia (2004), Council Member (2005), and Il Warrd (2008). Perhaps the best-remembered winner was Brian Ellison's Top Notch Tonto in 2013. With his distinctive markings – big blaze and four white socks – he had his own Facebook and Twitter pages.

28. There was an intriguing “match” at Redcar on May 19, 1964, between Karelia, owned by Timeform co-founder Phil Bull, and Lanarkshire, owned by his wife Patricia. It was the last race on the card, with Lester Piggott riding Lanarkshire and Don Morris on board Karelia. Karelia made all the running to win.

29. In 2006, the traditional “curtain-raiser to the Flat season” – The Lincoln Handicap – was run at Redcar while its regular home, Doncaster, was undergoing redevelopment. The race was won by John Quinn’s Blythe Knight, ridden by Graham Gibbons.

 

Memorable horses
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30. HENRY THE SEVENTH: Edward Hide says his Redcar highlight was riding Bill Elsey’s Henry The Seventh to win the 1962 Zetland Gold Cup six weeks before winning the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes.

31. KARABAS: In 1969, Karabas, who had been runner-up in the Zetland Gold Cup, went on to win the prestigious Washington DC International – a forerunner to the Breeders’ Cup.

32. RHEINGOLD: In 1972, Rheingold, trained by Barry Hills, won easily at Redcar before being runner-up to Roberto in the Epsom Derby and then winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe the following year.

 

 

33. PETTY OFFICER: Petty Officer was one of the great Redcar specialists. He won The Timeform 25th Anniversary Gold Trophy at the track in July 1972 when trained by Arthur Budget and ridden by Geoff Baxter. Petty Officer had already won the Vaux Gold Tankard just two months earlier. He went on to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Timeform Gold Trophy, coming first again in 1973 and 1974, in both cases with Edward Hide up. He also won the Vaux Gold Tankard in 1973. What a record!

34. PELEID: The 1973 winner of the Zetland Gold Cup, trained at Malton by Bill Elsey, went on to win the St Leger months later.

35. GUNNER B: Originally trained in Yorkshire by Geoff Toft, Gunner B won the 1976 Andy Capp Handicap before moving to Henry Cecil two years later and developing into a top-class horse with victories that included the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes.

36. MOVE OFF: Trained at Thirsk by Jack Calvert, Move Off was another popular Redcar campaigner. Incredible to think that he won the Zetland Gold Cup in 1976, carrying just 7st 7lbs, with Ray Still on board, then again a year later with Edward Hide in the saddle - when the chestnut colt carried two stones more!

 

 

37. SEA PIGEON: Dual champion hurdler Sea Pigeon, trained at Malton by Peter Easterby, won the Vaux Gold Tankard at Redcar in 1977, 1978 and 1980. He may well have won in 1979 had he not slipped on the bend, leaving Vicomte, trained by Jimmy Fitzgerald and ridden by Ernie Johnson, to win (see the racecard below). Here is the great Sea Pigeon in winning action in 1978 with Mark Birch on board. www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7BZzcD5Qn0

 


 

38. BADSWORTH BOY: The great steeplechaser won a six-furlong maiden as a two-year-old at Redcar in 1977 when trained at Malton by Snowy Wainwright. He went on to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham between 1983 and 1985 and was described by Michael Dickinson as the best horse he ever trained.

 

 

39. PROVIDEO: It was at Redcar in November 1984 that the two-year-old Provideo, trained by Bill O’Gorman and ridden by his regular jockey Tony Ives, equalled the British record by winning 16 races in a season. His odds at Redcar that day were 1-8 and he won by seven lengths.

40. ASHAL: Thank you to John Berry for remembering Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s stayer, trained at Newmarket by Tom Jones, who won three in a row at Redcar in 1990, when ridden by Richard Hills, then won the Ascot Gold Cup the following year. Ashal is believed to be the shortest-priced winner at Redcar when he started 1-25 in winning the Ellerby Graduation Stakes on October 18, 1989. The horse, ridden by Richard Hills in a two-horse race – both owned by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum – won by 30 lengths.

41. LOCHSONG One of the best sprinters of the past century, Lochsong, trained by Ian Balding, won at Redcar at the surprisingly generous odds of 6-1 on October 16, 1991. She was ridden that day by Ray Cochrane. Her later achievements included completing the rare sprint handicap treble of The Stewards' Cup, Portland Handicap, and Ayr Gold Cup in 1992. She also won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes. She was twice awarded the Cartier Top Sprinter Award, and was named European Horse of the Year in 1993.

42. DOUBLE TRIGGER: The legendary stayer, Double Trigger, trained at Middleham by Mark Johnston, made a spectacular debut at Redcar, easily winning the 1993 Zetland Stakes. He went on to win 12 Group races, including the Stayers’ Triple Crown in 1995.

43. SOMNUS: Trained by Tim Easterby, Somnus won the Two-Year-Old Trophy in 2002 and went on to be voted European Champion Sprinter two years later after winning two Group 1 races in France.

44. MECCA'S ANGEL: Michael Dods' star sprinter was fourth in the 2013 Two-Year-Old Trophy behind Ventura Mist and went on to complete an historic back-to back double in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in 2015 and 2016.

45. LIMATO: In 2014, Limato, trained by Henry Candy and ridden by Graham Lee, was an exceptionally easy winner of the Two-Year-Old Trophy and went on to win the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket two years later.

46. KIWI BAY: Kiwi Bay, trained near Darlington by Michael Dods, was one of Redcar’s best ever course specialists, with seven of his 13 victories coming at the seaside track. The gelding, owned by potato company owner, Ian Bennett, retired as a 13-year-old at Redcar on September 26, 2018, after running down the field in the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Selling Stakes. (pictured below)

 

 

47. LORD NORTH: Trained by John Gosden, Lord North won “cosily” on his debut at Redcar on October 19, 2018, when ridden by Robert Havlin (see result below). He went on to become a triple Group 1 winner, including the 2020 Prince off Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating Addeybb.

 

Trainers
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48. SAM HALL: Each year, Redcar honours the memory of one of its most successful trainers, with the Sam Hall Memorial Handicap. Sam, who died in 1977, trained more than 1,000 winners, and had a lot of success at Redcar, including: the Zetland Gold Cup five times with Near Way (1950), Cash and Courage (1958), Beau Rossa (1961), Preclusion (1966), and Lady Lowndes (1971). He also won three successive Andy Capp Handicaps with Sword Dancer (1966), Pennant (1967), and Hamood (1968); a Vaux Gold Tankard with Morcambe (1959); and a William Hill Gold Cup with Silver King (1960). He has the distinction of winning the inaugural runnings of the Zetland Gold Cup in 1950 and Vaux Gold Tankard in 1959.

49. HARRY WRAGG. Known as ‘The Head Waiter’ in his days as a jockey, Wragg trained four winners of the Vaux Gold Tankard: Monterrico (1962), Espresso (1963), Atilla (1965), and Salvo (1966). He also won the William Hill Gold Cup with Corinto (1966), and the Andy Capp Handicap three times with Shai (1965), Evvia (1974), and Mill Plantation (1982).

50. BILL ELSEY: The classic-winning Malton trainer won four Zetland Gold Cups with Henry the Seventh (1962), Brother Scot (1969), Peleid (1973), and K Battery (1985). Elsey also won the inaugural running of the Andy Capp Handicap in 1963 with Dion.

51. DENYS SMITH: As well as winning the 1968 Grand National with Red Alligator, Bishop Auckland trainer Denys Smith was a Redcar legend. He trained 89 winners at the track, including: four William Hill Gold Cups with Foggy Bell (1969), Caius (1971), Royal Prerogative (1973), and Claudio Nicolai (1976); three Andy Capp Handicaps with Good Apple (1969), Quayside (1970) and Carnlea House (1975); and two Zetland Gold Cups with Foggy Bell (1970) and Happy Hunter (1972). Denys is pictured below in retirement in his special corner at The Red Alligator pub at South Church, near Bishop Auckland. Below that is the racecard featuring Claudio Nicolai.

 

 

52. PETER EASTERBY: The great dual-purpose trainer deserves an honourable mention, not least for training Sea Pigeon to his three Vaux Gold Tankard victories at the end of the 70s. He also won the Andy Capp Handicap with Revlow, ridden by Mark Birch, in 1977, and the  Zetland Gold Cup with Silly Prices, ridden by Kevin Hodgson, in 1981.

53. MICK EASTERBY: Mick, Peter’s brother, surely holds the record for the oldest trainer to have a winner at Redcar. He was 91 when his Grantley Hall – co-trained by his son David – won on Ladies’ Day in June, 2022. Mick had a Redcar treble in April 2017 with Carlton Frankie, Roller, and Stuby Tuesday (see picture below).

 

 

54. MARY REVELEY: No history of Redcar would be complete without the great dual-purpose trainer Mary Reveley (pictured below), who trained down the road at Lingdale, and amassed more than 2,000 winners in her career, with many coming at her local track. She was the first woman to train 100 winners in a calendar season in 1991, the year she won the Cambridgeshire with her favourite horse Mellottie, who’d won twice at Redcar the year before. Mary’s Redcar highlight came when she won the 1995 Zetland Gold Cup with Penny A Day, ridden by Kevin Darley. Fittingly, it was at Redcar that Mary trained her final winner – Spitting Image on August 8, 2004. She died in 2017.

 

 

55. TIM EASTERBY: Peter Easterby’s son is the leading trainer at Redcar over the last five years and also the most successful trainer in the history of the Two Year Old Trophy – winning it four times with Pipalong (1998), Somnus (2002), Body and Soul (2012), and Ventura Mist (2013).

56. LUCA CUMANI: The Newmarket trainer deserves a mention for training five Zetland Gold Cup winners: Knockando (1987), Fridu (1988), Migwar (1996), Forte dei Marmi (2010), and Danadana (2012). He also won the Andy Capp Handicap with Perkin Warbeck in 1985.

57. BEN HASLAM: The young Middleham trainer is making a habit of hitting milestones at Redcar Racecourse. In 2018, Hasanoanda gave Haslam his 100th winner and, at the same meeting three years on, Sassoon made it 200 in the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Selling Stakes.

58. PHILLIP MAKIN: Redcar was the setting for Phillip Makin’s first winner as a trainer when Galloway Hills won on April 22, 2019. Eight months earlier, Makin’s career as a jockey had suddenly come to an end at the track after an horrific fall on Eyecatcher.

59. RICHARD FAHEY: Oktoberfest Day in 2019 was a memorable occasion for the Malton trainer, who struck a four-timer, including Summer Sands (pictured below) in the Two Year Old Trophy. His other winners were Embolden, Lightning Attack, and Fairy Stories.

 

 

60. JAMES HORTON: The rookie trainer had a day he’ll never forget at Redcar on Easter Monday this year. The former assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, head-hunted to become private trainer to John and Jess Dance, at Middleham, got his career off the mark when Phantom Flight won, then he went on to land a treble with Il Bandito and Asjad.

Jockeys
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61. BILLY NEVETT: A regular jockey at Redcar, who had become Cock of the North – the jockey with the most number of winners in a flat race season at northern-based racecourses – by the 1930s, Nevett won three wartime Derbies, including the 1945 race on Middleham-trained Dante. He went on to win the first two runnings of the Zetland Gold Cup in 1950 and 1951 on Near Way and Socrates.

62. KEN HARLAND: There can’t be many jockeys who’ve won races at Redcar at such a young age. So, thank you to Sue Harland for this picture of her father, Ken Harland, aged 15, riding his first winner, Amazine, at Redcar in 1952.  The horse was trained down the road at Kirkleatham Hall stables by Jack Calvert and the lady leading the horse in is Mrs Calvert. 

 

 

63. ALEC RUSSELL: Local lad Alec (AJ) Russell was born in Middlesbrough, learned to ride on the Redcar beach donkeys, and went on to win the 1960 Zetland Gold Cup on Hard and Soft and the 1972 Andy Capp Handicap on Jimsun. Russell was 57 years and 4 months when he had his last win at Redcar, so is believed to be the oldest jockey to ride a winner at the track.

64. EDWARD HIDE: Cock of the North 16 times, Hide won the Zetland Gold Cup three times on Henry VII (1962), Move Off (1977), and Say Primula (1982). He also won the 1981 Andy Capp Handicap on Say Primula.

65. MARK BIRCH: Cock of the North seven times, Birch won the Vaux Gold Tankard on Sea Pigeon in 1977 and 1978, the Andy Capp Handicap on Revlow in 1977, and the William Hill Gold Cup on Running Jump in 1978.

66. LESTER PIGGOTT: “The Longfellow” frequently graced the turf at Redcar, winning the William Hill Gold Cup three times on Passenger (1964), Lord Gayle (1970), and Royal Prerogative (1973). He is pictured below on Passenger after his win in 1964. Below that, he is being interviewed by racecourse presenter Graham Orange, during a return to the track after his retirement. Redcar paid a poignant tribute to Lester earlier this year by holding a minute’s silence in May, days after his death had been announced.

67. WILLIE CARSON: The diminutive Scotsman made his racecourse debut as a 16-year-old at Redcar on 18 May 1959, when he was fifth in an apprentice handicap on Marija, carrying 6st 11lbs. He was apprenticed to Captain Gerald Armstrong at at Tupgill, North Yorks. He went on to ride out his apprentice claim at Redcar when the Sam Armstrong-trained Regal Bell won the Bransdale Nursery Handicap on August 3, 1965. Our former sales and marketing assistant Caroline Thompson sent us a newspaper cutting from the day Willie Carson rode a Redcar five-timer - including four for her grandad, Denys Smith. It was on August 7, 1976 and the winners were: Gan On Geordie, Claudio Nicolai, Holdforth Boy, Noble Game, and Breathing Exercise. Below that, Carson is pictured on Denys Smith's Caius after their victory in the 1971 William Hill Gold Cup.

 

68. ERNIE JOHNSON: Another jockey with a fine record in the big Redcar races. He won the Zetland Gold Cup three times with Lady Lowndes (1971), Peleid (1973),and Record Run (1975), plus the Andy Capp Handicap with Hamood (1968) and Evvia (1974), and the Vaux Gold Tankard with Salvo (1966), and Vicomte (1979).

69. JIMMY BLEASDALE: The champion apprentice of 1977 rode his first winner at Redcar on his first ever ride – Croisette on April 24, 1975. He went on to partner Move Off to win the Ebor in 1977 and, in retirement, spent time as a paddock announcer at Redcar.

70. JOE MERCER: Nicknamed "Smokin' Joe", Mercer rode four winners on William Hill Gold Cup day in August 1977, including the winner of the Gold Cup itself, Aliante, trained by Henry Cecil. Mercer’s other winning horses were: Mister Geoffrey, Olane, and Flash Fire.

71. FRANKIE DETTORI: Had his first ever winner for John Gosden when 1-2 favourite Heisman won at Redcar on October 18, 1989. The start of one of racing’s great partnerships.

72. GEORGE DUFFIELD: A regular in the winner’s enclosure at Redcar, Duffield won the Zetland Gold Cup five times: Side Track (1980), Forward Rally (1986 – pictured below), Nayland (1991), Rose Alto (1992), and Flight Sequence (2002). He also won the Andy Capp Handicap in 1979, again on Side Track.

73. JULIE KRONE: At an evening meeting in July 1992, the famous American female jockey (pictured below) came to Redcar and rode three winners out of five rides. In 1993, Krone became the first and only female jockey to win the prestigious Belmont Stakes. She went on to win other notable races across the US and won 3,704 starts in total, making her perhaps the most successful female jockey in America. She came out of retirement in 2002 and in 2003 became the first female to win a Breeders’ Cup race.

 

 

74. KEVIN DARLEY: Won the first four races on the card at Redcar on July 8, 1993, all for Mary Reveley. The winning horses were Trevorsninepoints, Duke of Dreams, Azureus and Taroudant.

75. BEN CURTIS: Another jockey who has ridden a rare four-timer at Redcar. It came on June 21, 2019, on Rain Cap, Production, On The Line and Leo Davinci.

76. DAVID ALLAN: Allan joined the Redcar four-timer club in August 2018 with wins on Humbolt Current, The Knot Is Tied, Dalton, and Presidential.

77. DANNY TUDHOPE: Has been one of the most successful jockeys in Redcar’s recent history but he had a day to forget in May 2019. Danny set a record by having three mounts – Quiet Word, Hitman and Hamish - refuse to go into the stalls at Redcar in one day. His fortunes finally changed in the seventh race when he won on Inspired Thought.

78. JOE FANNING: The veteran jockey rode his 2,500th British winner at Redcar – aboard the Keith Dalgleish-trained Universal Gleam in August 2019. (pictured below)

 

 

79. ROWAN SCOTT: Rowan was the star of the show at Redcar on August 28, 2021 after riding the first treble of his blossoming career. Rowan scored on debutantes Trust Bertie and Reel Rosie, before sealing a Ladies’ Night hat-trick on She’s A Deva.

80. JOANNA MASON: It was a family affair in June 2022 when Joanna Mason rode her 100th career winner on Ladies’ Day at Redcar – on Grantley Hall, trained by her grandad and uncle, Mick and David Easterby.

 

 

81. PAUL HANAGAN: A popular jockey at Redcar in recent times, was Champion Apprentice in 1981, with 81 winners, Cock of the North twice, and Champion Jockey twice, in 2010 and 2011. He summed up the attraction of Redcar by saying: “It speaks volumes that so many southern trainers are prepared to send their horses to Redcar so frequently. That’s because it’s a very fair track and the ground staff do a magnificent job with the ground, improving it year on year.”

Royalty
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82. The Princess Royal's horse, Red Dragon, won the second running of the Vaux Gold Tankard in 1960.

 

 

83. The Queen’s famous colours were carried to victory in the 1968 Zetland Gold Cup by Castle Yard, trained by Captain Cecil Boyd-Rochfort and ridden by Stan Smith. At 54, Stan Smith was the oldest English jockey riding at the time. Two years later, The Queen's horse, St Patrick's Blue, trained by Major Dick Hern and ridden by Joe Mercer, won the inaugural running of the Timeform Gold Trophy in 1970.

 

 

84. On 29 July, 1981, Redcar held a Royal Wedding Race Day to commemorate the marriage that day of The Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. Races on the card included the Buckingham Palace Selling Handicap, St Paul’s Stakes, The Royal Marriage Handicap, the Bridegroom Handicap, the Bridal Maiden Stakes, and the Highgrove Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

85. Princess Anne rode her first flat winner at Redcar, on a horse called Gulfland (pictured below) in 1986 in the Mommessin Amateur Riders’ Stakes.

 

 

86. Princess Anne returned to Redcar in 1987 for a renewal of the same race. She was reunited with Gulfland but this time they finished third. She tried for a third time in 1988 but was second on Lord Justice. The race was won by Non Constat, trained by Denys Smith, and winning jockey Alison Dunn was reported to have joked: “I thought I might need a royal pardon.”

87. Princess Anne clearly felt an affinity for Redcar because she later returned to open the new stand overlooking the parade ring.

88. Forty one years after Castle Yard’s victory, The Queen won a second Zetland Gold Cup in 2009. The horse was called My Kingdom of Fife, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore.

89. The Queen last had a winner at Redcar in August, 2018, when Humbolt Current (pictured below), trained by William Haggas, and ridden by David Allan were victorious.

 

 

90. The famous Royal colours were also first past the post on May 22, 2017, when Patchwork (pictured below), trained at Lambourn by Richard Hughes, won the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Median Auction Stakes when ridden by Shane Kelly.

 

 

91. Redcar got into the spirit of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at this year’s Zetland Gold Cup Family Day on June 2, with children being given the chance to attend a Prince and Princess School. A cardboard cutout of The Queen had a tour of the racecourse and was offered an ice cream by one young racegoer.

 

Historic moments
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92. Redcar Racecourse played its part during the war years. It was used as an airfield during the First World War, and an Army camp during the Second World War. During and post and inter-war years, Redcar's racecards were produced and printed by local company A.A. Sotheran Ltd. of Redcar, up to the end of the 1964 season when racing administrators, Weatherbys, took over.

 

 

93. Redcar has a number of pioneering initiatives to its name. It was one of the first racecourses to introduce colour into its racecards in the early 1950s, and was the first racecourse to have furlong posts, closed-circuit television, and a timing clock. In addition, it appears that the first colour transmission of racing in the UK took place from Redcar in the late 1960s. Veteran racing presenter Derek Thompson, who was there at the time, recalls the exciting event: "There was a marquee near the winners' enclosure – I'll never forget it. We went in and there was a screen at the end and it was a bit hazy, but it was the first colour transmission of racing on TV," says Tommo in a podcast marking Redcar's 150th anniversary.  (The pictures below show front and back covers of a 1953 racecard, which is an example of Redcar's early introduction of colour.)

 

 

 

94. A new main grandstand was erected in the 1963-64 off-season, funded with help from The Levy Board, and opened on April 25, 1964. The last meeting of the 1963 season, on October 12, was held at York so that the builders could gain early access to the course. The grandstand has stood the test of time – both structurally and architecturally – until the present day. The construction work is pictured below. Below that is a poster, courtesy of Stephen Dixon, advertising the attraction of travelling by train to Redcar Racecourse with its posh new stand.

 

 

95. One of racing’s great dynasties began at Redcar when Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum had his first winner on July 30, 1980, with Mushref, trained at Newmarket by Harry Thomson Jones.

96. Lord Zetland oversaw the sale of land at the north end of the racecourse to Safeway in 1988. As a result, the track’s north bend was relocated further south. Proceeds from the sale were used to undertake a large building programme, starting with a luxury stable block for stable staff, a new hostel for overnight accommodation, and new stables. Lord Zetland then had the old Mississippi building demolished and replaced with the new Paddock Rooms stand (pictured below), overlooking the parade ring.

97. In 2006, work to realign the north bend for the second time resulted in the last meeting of that year being transferred to Warwick. Unfortunately, the turf on the new bend was not quite ready for the first two scheduled meetings of 2007, which consequently had to be transferred to Catterick and Musselburgh.

98. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the first six meetings of the 2020 season. Eleven meetings were eventually held that year, all behind closed doors, with everybody on course wearing masks, including jockeys, such as Ben Curtis (pictured below). The first three scheduled meetings of 2021 were also held behind closed doors before a limited number of socially-distanced spectators were allowed to return from May 17, 2021. Full crowds returned in 2022.

 

 

99. Redcar Racecourse invested nearly £1m in enhancing facilities ahead of the 2022 season. That included around £600,000 being spent on improvements to the on-site hostel for stable staff. Other major projects at Redcar over the winter included replacing the tarmac in the Grandstand Enclosure, upgrading the Middleham Bar, plus providing new railings and refurbishing the toilets at the Petch Stand.

Famous faces
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100. Actress Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street, from 1960 to 1984, was a regular guest at Redcar Races. She was honoured with her own race, The Pat Phoenix Handicap, which was run in the eighties and nineties.

101. Magician Paul Daniels, who hailed from South Bank, was a big supporter of Redcar Racecourse. He sponsored numerous races in the nineties, and also sent his horses to run at the track. For example, his horse That’s Magic ran in the Paul Daniels Magic Stakes on September 26, 1981, but couldn't conjure up a victory, finishing 15th.

102. On one occasion, Paul Daniels, was accompanied by Bruce Forsyth (pictured below), Ruth Madoc, from Hi-de-Hi, and Gordon Kaye, from ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

 

103. Singer Lulu was a VIP guest at Redcar Races in 1973.

104. In July, 1976, Jack Charlton brought his Middlesbrough team for a day at Redcar races. Much to the delight of spectators, Big Jack had them train on the racetrack in front of the grandstand in shorts. One of those players, the former Boro and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jim Platt, must have caught the bug as he is still a frequent visitor to the course today!

105. The actor Frazer Hines, who starred in Emmerdale, as well as playing Jamie McCrimmon in 117 episodes of Doctor Who, rode his own horse, Excavator Lady in the Mommessin Amateur Riders’ Stakes on August 6, 1985. Frazer put up 3lbs overweight and came 7th out of 11 – but still beat a certain Mr T. Easterby who rode Black River. The racecard is pictured below.

 

 

106. It appears that Derek Thompson launched his broadcasting career at Redcar Races…In the early sixties, he was at Redcar with fellow Guisborough Grammar School students, his brother, Howard, and future Grand National hero Bob Champion. They were drawn to the ITV broadcasting position, where John Rickman was presenting the coverage. The three pals were soon making their television debuts and were asked what they wanted to do when they were older. A natural raconteur, Thompson takes up the story: “Howard said he wanted to take over his father's firm – and he did. Bob said he wanted to be a jockey – and he was. And I said I wanted to be the next Peter O'Sullevan!" The picture below, taken earlier this week, shows them reuniting back at Redcar more than fifties years later to remember that day and reminisce about other fond memories from their Redcar past.

 

 

107. TV presenter Claire Balding won an apprentice race at Redcar in July 1992 – on the same card that featured American legend Julie Krone.

108. Chris Brasher, the 1956 Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase gold medallist, was at Redcar to see his horse, Maid For Walking, win the 1994 Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar. The filly was rained by David Loder and ridden by David Harrsison.

109. Many thanks to Paul Stephenson who contributed this racecard to the Treasure Chest of Memories. From September 13, 2004, it’s signed by Frankie Dettori, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ray Parlour who were all there that day.

 

 

110. Bob Champion, who won the 1981 Grand National on Aldiniti, after famously winning his battle against cancer, won his first race at Redcar in a donkey derby as a boy. Bob (pictured below) is a frequent visitor to Redcar, and in 2018, he was guest of honour at the Zetland Gold Cup meeting, signing copies of his book “I’m Champion, Call Me Bob”.

 

 

111. Music legend Bez – alias Mark Berry – of The Happy Mondays was a welcome visitor at Redcar Races on Easter Monday, in April 2021, to watch his horse, Mystic Moonshadow, run in the colours of his newly-launched racing club. Sadly, the filly refused to go in the stalls, leading Bez (pictured below) to comment “I suppose that’s what you call an unhappy Monday!”

 

 

112. Over the years, Redcar has hosted a number of famous bands, including Hot Chocolate (2006), Journey South (2007), and The Commitments (2009).

 

 

113. Malcolm Tomlinson (pictured below) is a regular raceday commentator at Redcar and doubles up as a professional actor. His credits include Peaky Blinders, Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Going back in his career, he’s also done plenty of pantomimes, including appearing as one of the Ugly Sisters, Scrooge and The Queen of Hearts.

 

 

114. Thank you to Paul Myers who says he’ll never forget Malcolm Tomlinson’s commentary when Limato won the Two Year Old Trophy in 2014, describing jockey Graham Lee having a double-handful and saying “he’s hardly breathed on him.”

People
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115. Major Leslie Petch, grandson of founding Chairman, John Hikeley, was appointed Managing Director and Clerk of the Course in 1946, and he went on to became one of the most influential figures in Redcar’s history, and was responsible for reviving the course’s fortunes after the neglect of the war years. Major Petch is on the far right in the picture below after Mandamus won the 1965 William Hill Gold Cup with Johnny Roe up.

116. In around 1953, Marjorie Rose was appointed as Major Petch’s secretary and went on to be awarded the MBE for her services to racing over 40 years.

117. Inside the racecard on July 29, 1981, the Redcar Racecourse Executive placed on record "their deep appreciation of the 50 years of valuable service given to the racecourse by their Foreman, Dave McHale, who retired on the same day". 

118. The Zetland family has been at the heart of Redcar Races throughout its history. Mark Dundas, the 4th Marquess of Zetland took over as Chairman and Manager in 1981 and, as well as notably introducing the innovative Two Year Old Trophy in 1989, he also oversaw the major redevelopment programme referred to in point 96. Lord Zetland is pictured below with John Charlton, Marjorie Rose, and John Berry.

 

 

119. In 1996, International Racecourse Management (IRM) took over the management of Redcar Racecourse, having been launched by John Sanderson, who was Major Leslie Petch’s nephew, and had worked under him as Assistant Manager before becoming Director and Clerk of the Course after Major Petch’s retirement in 1971.

120. In 2008, IRM assumed overall management control at Redcar and appointed Amy Fair as General Manager. Amy continues in her post today.

121. John Sanderson (pictured below left) succeeded Lord Zetland as Chairman at the end of the 2018 season and John’s son, Jonjo, is now Director and Clerk of the Course at Redcar.

 

 

122. Redcar’s track manager Stephen Berry (pictured below) has worked at the course for 37 years, succeeding his father, John, who was track manager between 1984 and 2004.

 

 

123. Painter and signwriter, Harry Rutland, worked at Redcar Racecourse for 60 years and was still working at 85.

124. Dick Glarvey was on the groundstaff for half a century and was still working at 84.

125. Graham Orange was public relations officer for Go Racing In Yorkshire for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2015 – and combined that role with being Redcar’s racecourse presenter for many years.

126. Adele Mulrennan (pictured below), Redcar’s current raceday presenter, is now part of the ITV Racing team. Adele is married to one of the leading lights of the weighing room in the north, Paul Mulrennan. As an amateur jockey, Adele won at Redcar in July, 2008, on Lucayan Dancer, trained by Dandy Nicholls.

 

 

127. Redcar’s media manager, Peter Barron, was the longest serving editor in the history of The Northern Echo and was awarded the MBE or services to journalism and North-East life in 2014. He attended his first Redcar meeting with his dad when he was three – in 1965.

Other memories
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128. Thank you to Stephen Dixon for recalling his grandfather, Harry Dixon, then later his father, Frank Dixon, working as stable lads in the Horace Barker stables at Coatham, Redcar. Horses were trained on the beach and the picture below, from 1950, shows Harry Dixon, at Redcar Racecourse, leading in a horse called Mattygainmal, which was owned by Baron de Montalbo. Having won a one mile race at Redcar by 10 lengths, connections decided to enter him into the 1950 Epsom Derby on May 27, 1950. There were 25 runners in that race and Mattygainmal was available at odds of 100-1. Ridden by A.Roberts, Mattygainmal was leading into Tattenham Corner, but finished last - "a dot on the horizon" - behind winner Galcador.

 

 

129. On 29 September 1973, there were TEN races on the card – thought to be the longest post-war day’s racing at Redcar.

130. There was once a BMX bike track at Redcar Racecourse and the area championships were held there on May 20, 1988.

131. Lisa McArdle (pictured below) rose to the occasion to win Redcar’s Best Dressed Lady title in 2021 – straight after working a night shift at Warburtons bread factory in Wakefield.

 

 

132. Ladies’ Day is long established as one of the highlights of Redcar’s season, and has been sponsored loyally by one of our most regular supporters, Market Cross Jewellers, along with Lynne Young Millinery, Orange Kerr Hair and Beauty, and Betty Leigh Boutique. The line-up in the picture below is from 2019.

 

 

133. Redcar was crowned Best Small Racecourse in Scotland & The North in 2018 by the Racegoers Club, the official supporters Club for British Racing fans.

134. Thank you to Paul Tucker who recalled his first visit to Redcar in 1981. Paul says: “My first winner was a horse called Chuilla Street. It was trained by Bill O’Gorman and the second day was on the day of the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. Over the two days, I backed seven winners. Not bad for a 15-year-old!”

135. Thank you also to Jason Tomlinson for sending in his favourite memory of coming to Redcar. It was in 2013 and his daughter, Rachel (pictured below), won the annual competition to design the Easter Monday racecard. Part of the prize was to have a race named The Rachel Tomlinson Designed Today’s Racecard Handicap Stakes. Jason says it remains a “treasured family memory”. Rachel is 19 now – and she still enjoys trips to the races.

 

 

136. Used jockeys’ silks, donated by legendary trainer David Elsworth, went on display in the refurbished Middleham Bar for the 2022 season.

 

 

137. Mum and daughter combination Karen and Gemma Tutty enjoyed sweet success with a double at Redcar Races in September, 2021. Karen, who trains at Osmotherley, in North Yorkshire, struck with Sweet Madness and Freak Out – with three-pound claimer Gemma guiding both first past the post.

138. Sometimes, you really couldn’t make it up…Hartlepool building surveyor Ian Cushlow (pictured below) woke up on his 50th birthday on Zetland Gold Cup day in May 2021 to be told by his family that he was going to Redcar Races for a surprise day out. The big race was won by Good Birthday, trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa. “I couldn’t not back it, could I?” laughed Ian.

 

 

139. He may not be the best horse to ever run at Redcar, but how about Jack Daniel (pictured below) for being the most remarkable? He broke his foot as a yearling – an injury that could have proved fatal – then he lost an eye due to an infection. It didn’t stop him winning The Visit racingtv.com Median Auction Stakes on his debut for Malton trainer Declan Carroll and jockey Harrison Shaw in August 2021.

 

 

140. We love having fun at Redcar. Who could ever forget James McCormick (pictured below) winning our 2019 Oktoberfest fancy-dress contest with the help of his “close friend” Veronica. The dummy fraulein certainly helped catch the judges’ attention!

 

 

141. Redcar staged its first ever mascot race on Zetland Gold Cup Day in 2019. Anyone who was there that day will never forget the sight of H’Angus The Monkey, representing Hartlepool Football Club, blazing a trail down the final furlong, only to be pipped in a photo-finish by Vauxhall Griffin, sponsored by Bristol Street Motors. H'Angus (pictured with the other mascots below) was convinced he'd won, throwing his arms in the air as he passed the post, only to be left in a disappointed heap when the result came through. Here's your chance to look back at the race: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCfUOqGPDto

 

 

142. Roger Saunders (pictured below) only bought a racehorse because his golf handicap had gone to pot after being a member of Barnard Castle Golf Club for 45 years. Dancin’ Boy was put into training with Michael Dods, at Denton, and got a kiss from Roger in the winner’s enclosure after coming home first in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap in May, 2020.

 

 

143. Great-grandma Janice Wilson (pictured below) made everyone smile when she won the adults’ fancy-dress competition on Caribbean Carnival Day on August 10, 2019. Judges said Janice, from Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, stood out not just because of her costume, but due to her pirate name of "Swashbuckle Fatknickers".

 

 

144. Redcar lays claim to being the UK’s most bee-friendly racecourse. Dave Metcalfe, whose business, Wilton Signs, has produced a lot of the signs around the course, is a beekeeper in his spare time. He approached the racecourse a few years back with a plan to establish eight beehives on a plot of land behind the stands and was given the go-ahead to start producing honey.

145. Redcar takes great pride in keeping the racecourse attractive and is lucky to have an award-winning gardening team. They won a gold medal in the sports stadia category of the Northumbria in Bloom Awards three years running in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

146. Runninwild, trained in North Yorkshire by Ann Duffield and ridden by David Allan, is thought to be the longest-priced winner in Redcar’s history, winning the Racing Median Auction Maiden Stakes on May 31, 2021, at odds of 200-1.

147. No-one can argue that Redcar Racecourse officials don’t have a sense of humour. On April 18, 2011, a race was named “The Alastair Down Gravestone Selling Stakes” after the Channel 4 pundit cheekily announced that he wanted “He never went to Redcar” inscribed on his gravestone. Alastair accepted an invitation to present the prizes.

148. Horses aren’t machines and can be unpredictable. For example, in May, 2017, a filly called Rosamaria, trained by Julie Camacho, got loose on the way back to the stables after a race and somehow found her way behind the counter in the stable lads’ canteen. We’re temped to say that she ordered the ‘mane course’.

149. Redcar Racecourse is a place where people like to remember loved ones. For example, The Celebrate The Life of Joe Newton Handicap is run in July each year in memory of the much-loved son of Paul and Karen Newton, who died suddenly in May 24, 2015. Paul said: “Our son Joe used to love spending time at Redcar racecourse; in his young years earning pocket money helping the ground staff, and as a young man watching the horses run at his home town track. That’s why we sponsor a race  at Redcar Racecourse every year which allows his friends and family  to remember him and celebrate his life.”

150. Thank you to Maria Ferguson for sending us this poignant memory: “The picture below was taken in 2013, just six months before my dear dad, John Salmon, died, aged 85. It's a great picture of two partners in crime with the racecourse behind us and my dad's newspaper on the table for him to 'study form'. Going to Redcar Races was a special treat for us and we always used to 'put a sneaky bet on the side' on one of my dad's tips that generally didn't win! On that day my dad said 'we must come next year for your 50th birthday' but he didn't make it. I still came for my 50th to celebrate his memory.” Maria’s mam, Joan, is 92 now and worked on the Tote at Redcar in the 70s.

 

 

  • Compiled by Peter Barron ... with special thanks to the Mitchell family, and for access to the late Peter Mitchell's racing collection. Also to Stephen Dixon for access to his personal archive. 
  • Sincere apologies to anyone (and any horse!) we may have overlooked but there is only room for 150 memories and the Treasure Chest is bulging! We know there will be many more names and events that will spring to mind but we've done our best to pick out those with particular significance. And anyway, there's always the 200th anniversary to give us another crack at it!
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