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KERSAL MOOR RACECOURSE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  MANCHESTER RACECOURSE
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Kersal Moor was, for over 160 years, the main racecourse for Manchester. The earliest known race meetings in Manchester were on Barlow Moor, first recorded in 1647, and again from 1697-1701. According to the "Racing Calendar" there were short-lived courses or one-off steeplechases at, for example, Heaton Park (1827-38), Eccles (1839), Harpurhey (1845) and Stretford (on the site of the Old Trafford cricket ground, 1841 and 1852-4). But from 1681-1847 Kersal Moor was the city's prime racing venue. Opposition to race meetings from local church leaders saw the course close in 1745 but support from the landed gentry, who sponsored most of Britain's horses and jockeys, saw racing back at Kersal Moor in 1760. Racing finally ceased in 1847 when the Manchester Racecourse Committee's lease ran out and was not renewed. Only the rough and hilly section of Kersal Moor, north of Moor Lane, remains as public open space, having been purchased by Salford Corporation in 1937 and recently designated as a site of biological interest.

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