From 1828 until 1924 racing had been run on various sites on the outskirts of the town. Feast Week racing was held in autumn from 1828-1887 and with the advent of Steeplechasing in the middle of the nineteenth century a second fixture was added to the calendar, this race meeting was held in spring from 1871 until today. Market Rasen Racecourse found a permanent home on Willingham Road in 1924.
Market Rasen is at a geographical location where three Hunts meet; Brocklesby, Southwold and Burton packs, this fact directly impacted on the naming of the race company when it was formed, which was “Market Rasen United Hunts Steeplechases Limited”. Four local gentlemen raised sufficient funds to buy fifty acres of land for a permanent site and a further fifty acres was rented for race day use, eventually the rented area was purchased by the race company.
Victor Lucas was responsible for the running of the course from 1945 until his death in 1971; he planned the layout of the course, paddock, parade ring, stands and weighing room, which has remained largely in place until today. During this time the fixture list was expanded from three meeting each year to a total of twelve in 1967; which included Easter Monday, Boxing Day, remaining days were Saturday fixtures.
The course was sold to Racecourse Holding Trust in 1967, which was a subsidiary of the Jockey Club. The company is now known as Jockey Club Racecourses, one of fifteen within the group. In the words of Victor Lucas “For racing to continue at Market Rasen for as far as the eye could see.”
Kindly written by Jean Lucas
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