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Best Horse Racing Events in Wales

The Welsh have a long and storied tradition involving horse racing. The sport, as we understand it today, was first held in Wales in the 18th century. Ever since, the country has held different iterations of classic horse racing, including flat races, National Hunt, and harness racing.

The Welsh horse racing tradition goes beyond just Welsh races. There are quite a few notable trainers from Wales and quite a few notable horses as well. For example, there are at least two equestrian athletes that have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

However, it is wrong to assume that Welsh horses only succeed in competitions abroad. In fact, Wales has a few local horse racing events, for many of which you can find betting offers on horseracing.net. Seeing as how the Welsh love to bet on horse racing, we thought we’d go over some of the best horse racing events in Wales, and talk about what makes them great.

The Coral Welsh Grand National

We mentioned before that National Hunt races are a Welsh tradition. That fact can best be exemplified by the Coral Welsh Grand National race, a premier Handicap National Hunt steeplechase that draws fans not just from Wales but also from England, Ireland, Scotland, and even further abroad.

The race is open to horses as young as four, and is raced over a distance of 3 miles and 6 ½ furlongs. Throughout the entire event, horses must jump over 30 fences, making it a relatively difficult steeplechase, though not nearly as hard as some other races, like the Velka Pardubicka race.

The history of the event goes back to the 19th century. It was first run in 1895, taking place in Cardiff. For a long time, the Ely Racecourse remained the venue for this event. That is until the 1948 iteration, when it was moved to Newport. It would not remain in Newport for long, as only a year later the event was held in Chepstow, where it still is being held to this day.

The Welsh Grand National is held every December. The purse is about £150,000, with the first-place athlete receiving over £85,000. In 2023, Nassalam, Iron Bridge, and Iwilldoit were the three big winners. This was not Iwilldoit’s first time placing in the top three, making him one of the returning champions of the event.

Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse Events

Located in Wrexham, along Wales’ eastern borders, the Bangor-on-Dee racecourse is one of the most notable destinations in the entire country, not just for horse racing, but for golf as well. Many have testified regarding the course’s beauty, and many more have visited the numerous events that take place here every year.

Bangor-on-Dee is, perhaps, best known for its jump racing fixtures. While flat races are a notable affair, many more people seem to get excited about steeplechases, at least in Wales. With that in mind, it is unsurprising to learn that the Bangor-on-Dee course hosts quite a few jump-based racing events. Let us go over some of the most popular ones.

●        Clwyd Special Riding Center Charity Race

Scheduled to take place on 6 September 2024, the Clwyd Special Riding Center’s charity event is one you don’t want to miss. Not only will it involve some of the most notable equestrian athletes, but the money earned will also go towards a good cause. No fan ought to miss this one.

●        Halloween Raceday

Though the day is meant to celebrate all things horror, the race is far from frightening. That is unless you find a full-blown sporting event that also comes with private dining and a punter’s package frightening. After the races, visitors can feel free to enjoy a nice meal at the local restaurant and push back a few brews as well.

●        Breakfast with Santa Raceday

The final race we are looking at is the end-of-November event, taking place on 30 November and starting at 8:30 AM. As you can imagine, this race is designed to get you in the mood for the Christmas holidays. Though it may be pricier, the ticket is worth it for anyone who enjoys a good run.

The Welsh Champion Hurdle

The Ffos Las racecourse is a relatively recent addition to the world of Welsh horse racing. Built in 2009, it was originally developed as a resort for horse racing fans. While it remains a notable resort, most people today recognise it as one of Wales’ top horse racing tracks.

The Ffos Las can support hurdle and flat races, and over the year there are quite a few notable events. However, there is no doubt that the most popular race run on the Ffos Las racecourse is the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

Like the Grand National, the Champion Hurdle is open to horses aged four or older. Also like the National, the event is a hurdle race, though admittedly, on a much shorter track, with fewer hurdles between the start and finish line.

The Grand National and Champion Hurdle share similarities, as both took place at Chepstow, at least at one point in history. However, the Champion Hurdle has become more popular over the years.

That is until 2010, when it was revived. The renewed interest inspired many to bring it back, except this time it would take place at an all new racecourse. The Welsh Champion Hurdle is run every year in February and has quite a generous purse.

Some Things Worth Remembering

Horse racing has endured throughout the years as one of the most popular and most beloved sports. Since ancient times, people have been racing horses, whether in flat, hurdle, or harness races. Though the sport remains a hit, many organisations have taken precautions to ensure the safety of both equestrian and human athletes.

Another aspect in which horse races have evolved is betting. The sports betting industry is largely digital now, and there are many bookies online dedicated solely to horse racing. These racebooks, as some call them, have made wagering on the sport easier, safer, and much more popular in the past few years.