Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 5, December 1961
For a number of years the Nelson Jockey Club's racecourse was at Stoke. It lay between Nayland Road and the Main Road, and was bounded on the northern side by Songer Street. In many places the rounded fence can still be seen. On the Songer Street side, where Thorne's house is now situated, was the grandstand—quite a large affair for those days, and capable of seating two or three hundred people. The putting through of the railway really sounded the course's death-knell, although for two or three years after its advent races page Fivewere held there once a year, the fences being removed and the track covered with sawdust. In 1866 the course was the scene of tragedy when Jockey Mahoney was killed near the grandstand.
With the proceeds the Jockey Club received from the sale of the Stoke property to Alfred Allport, they purchased the ground at Richmond which is still in use, but due to financial troubles they were later compelled to sell it to the A. & P. Association.
As was to be expected, the horses entered were mostly the property of local enthusiasts, although a few outside entries were not uncommon. Prominent among the early owners were Messrs Redwood, Nicholson and Sir Edward Stafford.
One of Stoke's oldest residents, Mr E. Chisnall, claimed the honour of being the only Nelsonian to breed a winner of the Grand National. This horse was Umslopagass, which won the race in 1896. He was not then owned by Mr Chisnall, who had sold him to a Mr Banks, of Wellington. He was, however, raced by Mr Chisnall in Nelson on four occasions. Twice he won and twice he was second.