January 16, 2015
History of horseracing in Derby can be traced back to 1700s at Sinfin MoorBrian Stubbs shares his fascinating research into the ‘sport of kings’ in the cityA painting showing racing at the Nottingham Road racecourse in 1859Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeMore newslettersThank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee Replica Bags our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailThe first location in the Derby area which was used regularly for horse racing was Sinfin Moor, with meetings held there throughout the 1700s.Racing at that time often consisted of several heats run over two or three miles, so horses may have had to race two or three times in a day!The grandstand for the Sinfin Moor races was situated on land close to Sinfin House, owned by a woman called Elizabeth Bancroft, which was located near to the old village of Sinfin.Flooding was often a problem and large numbers of labourers were often employed in cutting drains.On the many occasions when racing had to be cancelled due to flooding, the meeting was usually transferred to a course laid out on the Siddals, closer to the centre of Derby.(Image: Ordnance Survey)In August 1799 the Derby Mercury reported: “We cannot boast that our races have been numerously attended: the wetness of the season had nearly prevented any at all as a great part of the course on Sinfin Moor became covered with water, but by the assiduous exertions of a few gentlemen who waited upon the Mayor and Corporation, leave was granted to run upon the Siddals.”The Siddals was a large area of meadow land, to the south of the River Derwent. The grandstand there was situated roughly where Derby Midland Station stands today and the actual course occupied land which is now part of Pride Park.By 1803, due to field enclosures being created on Sinfin Moor, most of the Derby races were now held on the Siddals, which became a popular venue with crowds of up to 15,000 thronging the course at holiday times.Cricket at the racecourse. The Australian Aboriginals cricket team played a South Derbyshire team in September 1868Due to a legal dispute, the Siddals course was closed in 1835 and the grandstand demolished.
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