Chepstow Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Chepstow Racecourse, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 6BE - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01291 622260
The Southern Entrance at Chepstow
The Southern Entrance (Jaggery /geograph.org)

One of just three racecourses in Wales, Chepstow is host to both flat and National Hunt races throughout the calendar year. First opened in 1926, with jump racing starting a year later, the first two-day event at Chepstow had good prize money and was nicknamed ‘The Welsh Goodwood’. At a different two-day meeting in 1933, famous jockey Gordon Richards won 11 consecutive races, before narrowly losing the 12th and final race of the event. During World War II, the racecourse became designated as RAF Chepstow and acted as an operational outpost of RAF St. Athan.

Following the opening of the Severn Bridge and the completion of the M4, Wales in general and the course at Chepstow was suddenly a lot more accessible to those visiting from England. From the M4, those travelling to Chepstow can take the M48 and exit at Junction 2, with the course on the A466 Chepstow to Monmouth Road. The train station in Chepstow is just a ten-minute walk from the town centre and is regularly served by trains from major cities such as Birmingham and Cardiff.

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices at Chepstow are very affordable, with adult entry to the course for all meetings priced at just £15. Those visiting who are under the age of 18 are allowed free entry when accompanied by a full paying adult.

The Course

Chepstow Racecourse Map

The oval shaped course at Chepstow is grade 4 and measures 2m in circumference. Left-handed with stiff turns and sharp corners, the track is amongst the most undulating in the United Kingdom with a difficult 5f home straight.

The National Hunt course is shorter, measuring 1m7f and with a downhill run to the home straight turn the final few furlongs are often fast paced and competitive when the going is good. 11 fairly stiff fences make up the steeplechase course while the hurdles course has just seven flights.

Conditions Often Extreme

Chepstow is no stranger to rainfall, particularly in the winter. Between November and January, the Monmouthshire town averages close to 100mm of precipitation each month and how the racecourse loves to soak it all in. Already a course that emphasises stamina, there’s even a greater need for it at this time of the year as the going can turn very heavy indeed and races become a real slog. Many simply don’t have the legs for it and the sever test of stamina provided by Chepstow regularly sees fields drawn out as races progress.

While many races do take place in these gruelling conditions, sometimes things become so wet that organisers at Chepstow are forced to cancel or postpone some of the track’s meetings. A quick look at recent Welsh Grand National renewals will show you just how frequently Chepstow is battered by the elements. Postponing such a major race is never taken lightly but that is exactly what happened in 2012, 2015 and 2017 due to waterlogging. Frost is another issue ground staff at Chepstow must contend with, with freezing conditions far from uncommon at the Welsh course.

There are times in the year though when Chepstow can offer National Hunt racing on quick ground though and during such times races are run very fast indeed. Record times on the undulating course show how slick things can be, particularly during the run-in which is quite steeply downhill. The pace horses have coming into this stage is the main reason why many make a mistake on the final fence so it is crucial the jockey can control their mount into this obstacle when the temptation to attack can be hard to resist.

Some Draw Bias Present

You’ll find that high drawn runners, those closer to the near side, enjoy a little more success on Chepstow’s straight course. The bias is true for every distance, starting at five furlongs and going up to one mile and is slightly more prevalent when the going is soft.

Receiving a higher draw is actually more useful on the round course for 10f and 12f contests though. In races of this length, between September 2009 and August 2019, featuring at least eight runners, high drawn runners posted a win percentage of 13% and a level stakes profit of £9 compared to 9% and -£152 for those drawn lower.

Major Meetings at Chepstow

Three Furlong Post at Chepstow
Three Furlong Post at Chepstow (Jaggery / geograph.org.uk)

Perhaps not as famous as it’s English and Scottish namesakes, but important all the same, the Welsh National has been run at Chepstow since 1949, having been transferred from its previous homes at Ely and Caerleon. The tough 3m5½f race features 22 fences and is run annually in December, almost guaranteeing a heavy slog.

Famous jockey David Nicholson rode three successive winners in the national from 1959, whilst the race is generally used as an informative guide to see how horses will cope in the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Dining and Hospitality

Chepstow Racecourse Views
The Track at Chepstow Racecourse (Ruth Sharville / geograph.org.uk)

The exceptional hospitality at Chepstow racecourse means customers are guaranteed good food and faultless service, with packages coming in three price tiers, which range from £49 to £99 per person. There is also a restaurant on site for guests, with the price of menus starting at £39, but increasing up to as much as £180 depending on the race day, meeting and the seating position requested in the restaurant.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches