Nearly five decades have passed since the last-ever horse race was held in the spectacular South Downs setting of Lewes Racecourse. When jockey Bobby Elliott galloped past the finishing post in first place on 7/1 shot Miss Rhondda at a couple of minutes past 4.30pm on Monday 14th September 1964, a fascinating racing tradition spanning two and a half centuries came to an abrupt end. Those crowds will never return.
A group of enthusiasts, led by Lewes horse racing historian Barry Foulkes, are determined to ensure that the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the course’s closure in 2014 is appropriately marked. The events planned are as follows:
Saturday 13 September
Lewes Racecourse Memorabilia Exhibition
Racing memorabilia of Lewes racecourse from 1727 – 1964 will be on display.
The White Hart Hotel, 55 High Street, Lewes – 10am to 5pm
Sunday 14 September
Vintage and Classic Car Show
Corporation Wharf Car Park, North Street, Lewes – 9:30 to 11:30am
Suzy Smith’s County Stables Tour
Ride to the Suzy Smith County Stables at The Old Lewes Racecourse on a 1960 Queen Mary Double-Decker Bus. This bus departs at 9:30am for the two-hour tour from the White Hart Hotel.
Grand Parade to Carnival Site
The vintage cars will lead the parade from Corporation Wharf through the centre of Lewes and up to Race Hill, where there will be a carnival with rides and stalls to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of Lewes Racecourse. The parade will begin at mid-day.
You can join the parade by getting a ticket for the 1960 Queen Mary Double-Decker Bus which will leave from the White Hart Hotel. Tickets are £10/£8 and available from 01825 761727.
A map of the parade route, and lots more details are available on the Lewes Racecourse website.