CARDIFF RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 31st July 1782
Final meeting: Thursday 27th April 1939
The Welsh capital city of Cardiff first recorded a three day race meeting from Wednesday 31st July to Friday 2nd August 1782 at Heath Farm when the Mansel-Talbot Cup over 2 miles went to Mr Pritchard’s Perdita. The meetings proved popular and were supported by the Cardiff Corporation who donated £20 to the racing fund each year. James Whyte, in his ‘History of the British Turf’ recorded the card in July 1839 consisted of the Glamorganshire Stakes, the Coronation Stakes and the Cardiff Stakes, all over 2 miles. The Ely Racecourse, an excellent viewing course, perfectly flat and extending to just a mile, was used for the first time on Wednesday 30th May 1855. Flat racing came to an end on Wednesday 3rd May 1876 and racing lapsed in the town for eight years. However, racing was revived on Wednesday 28th April 1886 when the public’s interest was rekindled. The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, over 4 miles and 24 fences, is now contested at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March, but in 1889 it was held at Cardiff when won by Nap, ridden by Charles Thompson. In 1895 the Ely course received a tremendous boost when they played host to the Welsh Grand National for the first time, with Deerstalker running out the winner. By 1921 they were also rewarded with the Welsh Champion Hurdle and were the undoubted premier track in Wales. Tragedy struck in 1937 when fire gutted both main stands, and although racing did continue for two years after the event, in reality the course never did fully recover. The final meeting took place on Thursday 27th April 1939 when Lester Piggott’s father Keith rode Grasshopper to victory.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Milford
Principal Races Welsh Grand National, Welsh Champion Hurdle, Glamorganshire Stakes, Cardiff Stakes, Mansel-Talbot Cup, Coronation Stakes

Wednesday 31st July to Friday 2nd August 1782

Cardiff Mansel-Talbot Cup over 2 miles
1. Perdita owned by Mr Pritchard
2. Unnamed colt owned by Mr Matthews
3. True Briton owned by Mr Thomas

Wednesday 22nd September to Friday 24th September 1824

Cardiff Plate over 2 miles
1. Cardinal Puff owned by Mr Pryse
2. Valentine owned by Mr Davis
3. Melampus owned by Mr C Day

Cardiff 50 Sovereign Plate over 2 miles
1. Doctor Eady owned by Mr Pryse
2. Sloe owned by Mr C Day
3. Valentine owned by Mr Davis

Cardiff Hunters Sweepstake over 2 miles
1. Melampus owned by Mr Day
2. Doctor Eady owned by Mr Pryse

The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, over 4 miles and 24 fences, is now contested at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March, but in 1889 it was held at Cardiff, and the result is shown below.
1889 Nap ridden by Charles Thompson

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 27th April 1939 when Lester Piggott’s father Keith rode Grasshopper to victory.

Course today Initially at Heath Farm and then at Ely.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The rare handbill shown below is provided courtesy of the Robert Shaw collection.

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

1898 1899 1900 1902
1909 1924 1925 1930
1932 1932 1933 1934
1935 1935 1936 1937
 
1937 1938 1938  

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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