A busy and exciting Thursday includes a brace of G3 contests, for punters to get stuck into! The big race at Salisbury is the Sovereign Stakes (4:20pm), won by Zonderland in 2016. Frankie Dettori will ride William Haggas’ 5-year-old, Hathal – a game winner of the G3 Superior Mile Stakes, at Haydock last year.
At Leopardstown, the feature encounter is the Desmond Stakes. Jim Bolger saddled last season’s winner, Tribal Beat. He’ll be hoping that Flight Risk can get into the groove for him, this time around.
The remaining meetings are at Beverley, Fontwell, Yarmouth, Tramore and also Chepstow where the first of 7 races gets underway at 5:15pm.
Racing At Chepstow
Chepstow Racecourse is actually very close to the English border. It is situated in the southern region of the Wye Valley, in the county of Monmouthshire. The venue is just to the north of Chepstow town. This track is oval, left-handed and very undulating. The course-distance is just a tad under two miles. Both flat and National Hunt racing take place here.
Chepstow has a very busy racing calendar, with around 28 racing days in any given year. There are only three racecourses that are currently operational in the whole of Wales and Chepstow is the most prestigious. Ffos Las and Bangor are the other two.
The history of racing in Wales does not go back as far as in England or Scotland. It wasn’t until the late 19th-century that racing got underway at St Arvans, which is actually very close to the current Chepstow Racecourse site.
Early events were always on a relatively small scale, to begin with. In the 1920s, several wealthy Welsh businessmen and landowners formed a syndicate to purchase Piercefield House. The project was still beset by financial difficulties, in the early years. Eventually, a new racecourse was laid out and racing began to take place.
However, they ran into more problems almost immediately and the future of Chepstow Racecourse was only secured through a very large bank loan. Challenges remained, in terms of revenue being generated and it wasn’t until 10 years later that the course began to turn a profit. Nowadays Chepstow has long put these issues behind it and some very important races are held there.
Throughout World War II, the venue was converted into an RAF outpost, like many racecourses in Great Britain. RAF Chepstow was used to house bombers which meant there was always the threat of an enemy attack. Thankfully, the war passed without any damage being inflicted.
In the years that followed the war, another local racecourse called Caerleon fell out of favour. This led to the Welsh Grand National being transferred to Chepstow. This caused National Hunt racing becoming more dominant at the racecourse. Chepstow began to be recognised as the most important racing venue in Wales. There was more good fortune when transport links were greatly invested in. The Severn Bridge was opened and the M4 motorway was completed. Now, spectators could visit from far and wide.
Betting With RaceBets
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