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
|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|
|1994||Master Oats*||K C Bailey||N Williamson|