Welsh horse racing is going through the most successful period in its history and we have put together an exciting three-day meeting. Taking place across our very own Chepstow and our beautiful sister course Ffos Las in October to attract racegoers to this beautiful country. A chance to see top quality jumping action and the magic of wondrous Wales.
The three day fixture includes the £50,000 Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle and the £75,000 Wasdell Group Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow, and concludes with the £50,000 DragonBet Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.
Before this current ‘golden’ spell for Welsh racing, the biggest Welsh triumphs were Geoff Lewis’s triumphs aboard Mill Reef in the early 1970s, Sirrell Griffith’s 100/1 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Norton’s Coin in 1990 and Carl Llewellyn’s successful career in the saddle from 1990 to 2005 (he won the Welsh, Scottish and Aintree (twice) Grand Nationals in that period. Since then Welsh racing has gone from strength to strength. Click through the cards below to learn more about the key trainers, jockeys and racecourses in Welsh racing.
A new breed of Welsh trainers and jockeys started to develop in the 1990s.
Point trainer Peter Bowen was the first. Buoyed by the success of five of his nine runners under Rules in 1994/95 he took out a full trainers’ licence and the following year Iffeee won six races. The following season Stately Home won ten out of the stable’s total of 33. The fact that this new trainer was operating not just from Wales, but from Haverfordwest – was remarkable.
A bandwagon was starting to roll. There were a few hitches – foot and mouth in the early part of the new millennium hit hard – but then successful jockeys between the flags such as Evan Williams and then Tim Vaughan hung up their saddles to try training and they quickly met with success.
Similarly, Christian Williams came through the ranks of pointing jockeys to be snapped up by the multiple leading trainer Paul Nicholls. Sam Thomas followed a different route before joining him at Ditcheat but between them they rode 232 winners for Nicholls, earning almost £4m in prize money.
Now they are back in Wales training winners, especially in big races such as the Coral Welsh and Scottish Nationals. Their success encourages local people to own horses, forming a virtuous circle. Welsh trainers won over £2m in prize money last season.
Irish and English jockeys rode most of the Evan Williams and Tim Vaughan runners for a while and that accounts for a dip in the Welsh jockeys’ winners’ table. Then another Bowen set off a change. In his first full season, 2014/15, Sean Bowen rode 51 winners. Since then, sons and daughters of the new trainers have come of age – in the saddle, and a host of other young riders inspired by Welsh racing’s resurgence. James Bowen, Connor Brace, Ben Jones, Richard Patrick, Jack Tudor, Isabel Williams and Lorcan Williams.
Chepstow has been Wales’s premier racecourse since the Coral Welsh Grand National moved there in 1949. From humble beginnings in the 1920’s, the stunning 370 acres of Chepstow Racecourse now welcomes thousands of passionate racegoers each year.
The creation of Ffos Las in 2009 has given Welsh trainers, jockeys, owners’ and racegoers more opportunities than ever before. The first new National Hunt course built in the UK for 80 years, Ffos Las has become a fantastic addition to Welsh racing.