History of racing at Andoversford

There has been racing in and around Cheltenham for 200 years. In fact, the first Cheltenham Gold Cup was a 3 mile flat race on Nottingham Hill overlooking the Vale of Evesham, in 1819. But the 1820s were a period of puritan preaching against the ills of gambling at the races, by none other than Dean Francis Close, after whom the school in Cheltenham is named. Francis Close was at that time vicar of Prestbury. After what had looked a propitious start for racing in Gloucestershire, it was only the emergence of Andoversford, and of one of Steeplechasing’s most enduring races that kept the show afloat in the area.

Despite flat racing having died a quiet death at Prestbury Park in the 1840s, Steeplechasing flourished a little further out of town on the present site of Andoversford Races, and here in 1834, the race known as the Grand Annual, was inaugurated. The Grand Annual, now one of the most fiercely competitive handicaps of the Festival, is a fixture of the Friday that also features the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

One of the most prominent riders of that era was Tom Oliver, a Sussex born lad with a strong streak of gypsy blood. His dark looks gave him a nickname of Black Tom, but it could just as easily have been attributed to his financial dealings, which made Barney Curley look positively saintly. George Stevens, a one-time pupil of Oliver’s, also made Cheltenham his home, and contrived to win 5 Grand Nationals between 1856 and 1870. And together, they rode against a founder pupil of Cheltenham College, Adam Lindsay-Gordon, who imbued the school with its Corinthian sporting attitude. After the current Cheltenham course was established in 1898, racing under Rules effectively ceased at Andoversford, and it wasn’t until the re-introduction of Point-to-Point racing that it began to flourish again. The fixture was traditionally run on a Wednesday evening, but this was altered after Cheltenham foreshortened its calendar by staging the popular Hunters’ Evening two weeks earlier than hitherto, at the end of April. A new date had to be found.

Under the able direction of Ken Dodwell, fence building by George Excel and Ted Nugent, and subsequent efforts by Bob Hartop, George Dowty and Kim Bailey, the course achieved a reputation for stoutly made fences that command respect, and stamina for that long uphill finish. We look forward to many a further year in the history of Andoversford Races.

Event details

When?

 

See the results of our photography competition with Cheltenham Camera Club! Click here to view

 

Sunday April 10th 2022

Gates open 1030. Pony racing 12 noon, Steeplechases from 2.00pm

Going: Good to Firm, good in places (Sunday) To be updated Thursday 

Buy a Season Ticket to enjoy the best Point-to-Point racing across seven counties around Gloucestershir

Where?

Andoversford Races is 6m east of Cheltenham near Dowdeswell Manor. Follow signs from the reservoir out of Cheltenham on the A40, or from the A436.

Buy your tickets now

Latest News

09-05-2022 10:58:16 in General by Peter McNeile
There are relatively few horseracing events which attract worldwide media attention and substantial crowds. We're lucky enough to be near one such event in the Cheltenham Festival, but in May, it's Kentucky that holds sway for the annual Run for the Roses. Over 147,000 spectators crammed into Churchill Downs to enjoy this year's renewal.  The 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby saw a shock a...

Read more...

13-04-2022 00:00:00 in General by Pete Mansell
With Easter meetings looming on the horizon combined with the lack of rain, the build up to the weekends fixtures resulted in runners being thin on the ground at Andoversford on Sunday afternoon, but this was not the only meeting to suffer that problem. Jason Warner’s presence was sadly missed but his daughter Marita Warner-King, her sister Rhonda and their mother Sue kept the “show o...

Read more...

07-04-2022 20:24:59 in General by Peter McNeile
Tom & Gina Ellis secured their largest triumph when prevailing in a tight finish to the Randox Foxhunter Chase over Aintree's imposing fences earlier this afternoon.  The 18 fences of the Foxhunter, whose magnificent trophy of a near full size fox should prevent any politically correct removal of the title of the race, are the ultimate challenge for the amateur riders who are the core of...

Read more...

06-04-2022 08:59:27 in General by Pete Mansell
Jason Warner presided over the Cotswold Vale Farmers meeting after taking over as Secretary in 1992 and was always looking for different ways of attracting more visitors and generally succeeded in doing so. The sport, his family and this meeting in particular miss his wise counsel since he passed away in November but his daughter Marita Warner-King has stepped in to take over the running of this y...

Read more...

Our Sponsors