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May 6th 1515

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Going to the Races

Horse racing in Perth started on the South Inch around 1613. In the town records for May 6th 1615 there is mention of six stakes to be placed on the Inch “for the riding of the horse race in time coming.” 

In 1631 a new prize cup was donated. The race was won by Thomas Tyrie of Drumkilbo with a horse called Kildair. Though racing ceased during the Covenanting times it was revived during the reign of Charles 2nd when the main race was known as the Perth Bell Race.

In the early 18th Century the races were transferred to the North Inch and enjoyed great popularity. On September 4th the Town Council agreed to give ten guineas towards making up the 75 guineas “for the horse races to be run here next week.” 

Racing at Perth and at other centres such as Hamilton and particularly at Leith, became steadily more popular. About 1784 the Perth Hunt was established at the North Inch. The racing continued for a week in October with balls held daily. Later, the Caledonian Hunt visited Perth and other centres in rotation, when the racing and the celebrations lasted two weeks. For this short time at least Perth became the centre of fashion.

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