Chepstow Racecourse Guide
Situated close the English border and one of three in Wales, Chepstow is a dual-purpose course hosting both flat and jumps racing throughout the year. The track sits at the southern end of the Wye Valley and while the course hosts only moderate fare on the level its’ contribution to the jumps game is noteworthy and it is the only course of the three Welsh venues to host Graded racing over jumps.
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Welsh Grand National Tips
Chepstow Major Meetings
Chepstow’s flat racing action through the summer tends to be low-grade racing; however it is a much different story over jumps with the two-day Persian War Hurdle - a Grade Two race - heralding the the start of the new National Hunt season.
The jewel in the crown however of Chepstow’s jumps racing season is the Welsh Grand National, a gruelling test of stamina held over the Festive period and the race is one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the entire racing calendar. There have been some notable winners of the Welsh National including Grand National winners Earth Summit, Silver Birch and Bindaree, and Gold Cup winners Synchronised and Native River.
Chepstow Track Characteristics
Chepstow’s flat racing card is left-handed and oval in shape with a straight chute catering for races up to one mile which is downhill until it reaches the home straight where there are some quite severe rolling undulations. Races over ten and twelve furlongs start in the back straight which is slightly downhill before the long sweeping bend into the home straight.The home straight is almost five furlongs in length.
The chute is taken out of play for races over jumps, but that aside the course is similar to the flat track in all other respects. The far bend sees a sustained climb into the back straight from what is quite a sharp bend and the ground can become very testing in winter. Horses need to stay well to be successful at Chepstow as well as being able to handle the track’s significant undulations.
Galloping in nature the undulations can make it tricky for horses to remain balanced and the home straight runs slightly downhill; when the ground is quick races can be strongly-run affairs but in soft and heavy ground races can become a slog. The fences at Chepstow are quite stiff and take some jumping especially when the ground is testing and horses are beginning to tire; mistakes at the last fence in the straight are a common sight.
The long straight means horses can get racing earlier than idea, especially on the flat course and it is a long way home for horses whose stamina might be suspect.
Chepstow Draw Bias
The undulations at Chepstow in the home straight prove a great leveller against any perceived draw bias at the track and it is generally a pretty fair track although high numbers do hold slight sway in races on quicker ground. This can be especially true of races over seven furlongs and one mile.
Softer ground sees a reverse in the trend with lower numbers slightly favoured in races over the same distance, especially in larger fields although in sprints there appears to be very little effect. Front runners over all trips at Chepstow do tend to have a slight advantage however.
Chepstow Leading Trainers
Over the past five seasons Ralph Beckett has been the man to keep onside at Chepstow with his runners operating at more than 32% strike-rate over the period with the trainer turning a near-twenty points profit in the time. Fellow trainer Tony Carroll also shows a slight profit from his runners over the past five seasons despite his strike-rate being much more modest.
More recently David O’Meara boasts an excellent strike-rate at Chepstow, his runners over the past twelve months boasting a strike-rate of 67% at the time of writing. Eve Johnson Houghton and Richard Price are other trainers over the past year to post strike-rates in excess of 20%.
Over the sticks both Evan Williams and Philip Hobbs return positive figures when it comes to making profit at the track although both trainer’s strike-rates are modest; both do well in the bigger races at the track and are worth a second look. Paul Nicholls boasts the best strike-rate of the top trainers at the track over the past five years but following the Ditcheat yard’s runners blindly over the period will see punters losing out.
David Pipe is another trainer with a decent five-year record at Chepstow; but more recently Rebecca Curtis has emerged as a trainer to keep on the right side of. The handler won five of the 13 races she had a runner in last season for a near-40% strike-rate and a profit of almost 15 points.
Runners last season from Fergal O’Brien, Jonjo O’Neill and Tom Lacey were all worthy of consideration although none of the quartet returned a profit.
Chepstow Leading Jockeys
Rossa Ryan’s record at Chepstow over the past five years is solid with the rider operating at almost 25% strike-rate and a profit pushing 50 points for a £1 level stake; while Richard Kingscote boasts a similar strike-rate but shows a loss. Tom Marquand meanwhile is also a rider operating in positive figures despite a more modest strike-rate.
In more recent times looking at the past year Georgia Dobie boasts a healthy profit from her 22% strike-rate at the track, while Harry Davies boasts similar numbers; Hollie Doyle though has ridden one winner in every three rides at Chepstow over the past year.
Among jockeys Adam Wedge and Paddy Brennan both show a decent profit return from their rides at the Welsh track over the past five years despite the former having a poor strike-rate in comparision to the latter. Now-retired Richard Johnson was always worth a follow at Chepstow while Harry Cobden boasts the best winning record at the track over the past five seasons.
More recently Ben Jones and Stan Sheppard returned a profit at Chepstow from their rides last term, while Paddy Brennan struck gold with more than 30% of his rides at the track.
Chepstow Track History
In comparison to many other racecourses whose history stretches back hundreds of years, Chepstow is a relative youngster having first opened its’ doors in 1926 with a meeting lasting two days. However the course almost immediately had to close down but it’s immediate future was secured by a bank loan which required guarantees by the directors of the track.
The directors had to subsidise the course for a further ten years as it struggled financially; but the introduction of jumps racing proved a saviour and the year-round use of the track saw Chepstow begin to flourish as a racing venue.
In 1933 the famous jockey and multiple-times champion Sir Gordon Richards rode eleven consecutive winners at Chepstow across a two-day meeting. He went through the card on the first day and won five races on the second, only narrowly beaten in the last race.
The track became an RAF outpost during World War II and the closure of the tracks at Cardiff and Caerleon saw the Welsh Grand National transfer to the track in 1949.
Chepstow Racecourse Address
The official racecourse address for Chepstow racecourse is:
How To get to Chepstow Racecourse
Here’s how to get to Chepstow Racecourse if you’re planning a visit to the Welsh venue.
By car: The course is situated close to the Severn Bridge on the A466 Chepstow to Monmouth road. The course is signposted from the M48 but traffic around the course can be extremely busy so leave plenty of time!
By rail: Chepstow is the nearest railway station to the track which is approximately ten minutes from the track. Chepstow station is directly served from several large cities and connections are available from other cities at Newport and Cheltenham Spa stations.
By bus: There is a shuttle bus on racedays operating from Chepstow train station via the town’s bus station. There is also a direct service from Newport station.
By air: Bristol International Airport is only 30 miles from the racecourse; Cardiff International Airport is slightly further afield at 45 miles. Both airports cater well for domestic and international commercial flights. Helicopters are permitted to land at the course subject to prior arrangement.