History

of Chepstow

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History

When a group of ten South Wales worthies gathered together in the early 1920s and formed a company to purchase Chepstow's picturesque Piercefield Park, little did they know just how successful their plan to build a racecourse in its 370 undulating acres would be.

Those pioneering stalwarts, including such dignitaries as the Lords Tredegar, Glanely and Queenborough, waited patiently for three long years as 80 men toiled to hew the course from the green and pleasant parkland. But those labours reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1926 when 20,000 racegoers turned up for the inaugural race meeting at Chepstow racecourse.

Serious financial problems dogged those early days but with the help of their faithful shareholders and supportive bank manager, Chepstow somehow managed to survive, even though the neighbouring tracks at Brecon, Usk, Monmouth, the Ely course in Cardiff, Abergavenny, St Arvans and Tenby had fallen by the wayside.

Soon, however, Chepstow made an indelible mark on the history of racing. At a two-day meeting in-1933 Gordon Richards rode into the record books by partnering the winners of 11 consecutive Chepstow races.

After the war, and the demise of the nearby Caerleon course, the Welsh Grand National came to Chepstow in 1948 and National Hunt racing rapidly put the nation's youngest racecourse even more securely on the map. David Nicholson, ex-racehorse trainer and jockey, added his name to the Chepstow hall of fame by partnering three successive Welsh National winners in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

The three and three-quarter mile race, known as the Coral Welsh National, owes much to the support of the bookmaking firm for establishing it as one of the major events in the National Hunt calendar. Among the winners have been Stearsby, Run and Skip, Righthand Man, and, in the 1983-84 season, Burrough Hill Lad, who went on to complete the big double by landing the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup less than three months later. It was another tremendous achievement for trainer Jenny Pitman who during the previous season had-saddled Corbière to pull off the Coral Welsh National - Aintree Grand National double.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the race was dominated by Somerset trainer Martin Pipe. Bonanza Boy achieved back-to-back successes in 1988 and 1989, but pride of place among the Pipe quintet must go to the giant Carvill's Hill who outclassed, out galloped and out jumped his rivals in 1991 to become one of the easiest winners in the history of the race.

WELSH NATIONAL ROLL OF HONOUR

Year Horse Trainer Jockey
2016 Native River Colin Tizzard Richard Johnson
2015 Mountainous Jamie Moore Kerry Lee
2014 Emperor’s Choice Venetia Williams Aidan Coleman
2013 Mountainous Richard Lee Paul Moloney
2012 Monbeg Dude Michael Scudamore Paul Carberry
2011 The Beau Bai Richard Lee Charlie Poste
2010 Synchronised Jonjo O’ Neill A.P. McCoy
2009 Dream Alliance Phillip Hobbs Tom O'Brien
2008 Notre Pier Jim Dreaper A. Lynch
2007 Miko de Beauchene Robert Alner A. Thornton
2006 Halcon Genelardais Alan King W. Hutchinson
2005 L' Aventure P. F. Nicholls L. Aspell
2004 Silver Birch P. F. Nicholls R. Walsh
2003 Bindaree (IRE) N A Twiston-Davies C Llewellyn
2002 Mini Sensation (IRE) Jonjo O’Neill A Dobbin
2001 Supreme Glory (IRE) P G Murphy L Aspell
2000 Jocks Cross (IRE) Miss Venetia Williams B J Crowley (3)
1999 Edmond (FR) H D Daly R Johnson
1998 Kendal Cavalier N J Hawke B Fenton
1997 Earth Summit N A Twiston-Davies T Jenks
1996 Abandoned    
1995 Abandoned    
1994 Master Oats* K C Bailey N Williamson
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