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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 5th April 1853
Final meeting: Thursday 4th May 1865
The Welsh village of Llanboidy sits in magnificent countryside in West Carmarthenshire. The village name means ‘church near a cowshed’ and was probably named after St Brynach who was a Saint who came over from Ireland in the 5th century. The village is rich in history, with the site of a timber built Iron Age fort still visible today. The village hosted a series of race meetings in the middle of the 19th century, the first of which took place on Tuesday 5th April 1853. Although not as well supported as the organisers had hoped for, the meeting lapsed for the next 5 years. However, in 1859 a further meeting was held featuring the UHC Chase and the Challenge Cup, and this time the locals supported it in their thousands. Furthermore, one of the locals was so fond of the meeting that he created a verse:-
‘Here, midst the gay triumphs of her Cambrian worth,
Nature herself invites the sportsman forth;
While the warm welcome given to all that come
Bespeaks no less a hospitable home’.
In 1860 meetings were held on Tuesday and Thursday in April, while the Wednesday was reserved for hunting, but the course in 1860 was slightly less than the required 4 miles, so in 1861 it was suitably adjusted to add a flying fence in front of the stand and a water jump at the rear of the stand to ensure the course was 4 miles. That meeting took place on Tuesday 16th April, opening with the Llanboidy Free Handicap which, along with the later Cefen Handicap, was won by Mr Gulliver’s Sunflower who beat Nimrod. Meals for the races were provided by the Maesgwynne Arms, while racegoers were entertained throughout the meeting by the local band. The next year, on Tuesday 1st April 1862, the Challenge Cup over 4 miles was won by Mr Powell’s Carew who defeated Bickjumper. The final meeting at the old course was staged on Thursday 14th April 1864, while the next year a new course was laid out on the estate of Maesgwynne Hall owned by Mr and Mrs Powell. The course replaced old banks and thorn hedges with flying leaps and flexible hurdles, with entries accepted at the Maesgwynne Arms Hotel. The two day meeting opened on Tuesday 2nd May 1865 with the UHC Chase over 3 miles, rewarding course owner Mr Powell with success when Dandy beat Gentle Annie and St Patrick. The Open Handicap Hurdle rewarded faithful punters who laid odds of 2/1 on with success when Mr Valliant’s Henryls defeated The Princess of Wales, while the Open Handicap Chase was won by the local MP the Honourable G Morgan through his gelding Persuader, beating Banting and Grantstown. The Wednesday was taken off for hunting, but racing returned on Thursday 4th May with the Cambrian Handicap Chase in which Mr Riddell’s Banting beat Grantstown and Enock. The Principality Hurdle over 2 miles and 7 hurdles was won by Mr Powell’s Grantstown, getting the better of Adam and Gentle Annie; the Cefen Selling Chase went to 4/5 favourite Dubious, while the meeting concluded with the Foxhunters’ Stakes in which Mr Rees’s Trumpeter saw off the determined challenge of Maid of Cilgerran and Crusader to bring to an end Llanboidy races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain D B Edwardes & Lloyd Price (Stewards)
Principal Races UHC Steeplechase, Llanboidy Challenge Cup

Tuesday 16th April 1861
UHC Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Pitchfork, chestnut mare owned by Mr Luck
2. Fenton, bay horse owned by Mr Powell
3. Gingerbread, bay gelding owned by Mr Cole

The final meeting took place on Thursday 4th May 1865.
Course today A course of slightly less than 4 miles prior to 1861, extended to 4 miles with an additional hurdle and water jump near the stands to provide a wonderful spectacle. In 1865 the meeting moved to the grounds of Maesgwynne Hall.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

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

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

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