NEWPORT (Wales) RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: August 1845
Final meeting: Monday 17th May 1948
The Welsh cathedral city of Newport, on the River Usk, is located in south Wales just 12 miles north east of Cardiff. The earliest recorded two day race meeting in the area was in August 1845 at Caerleon, with meetings continuing until 1854. The 1845 meeting was not worthy of note because the three races on Wednesday only attracted a total of six horses, while the sport on Thursday was even less attractive. The Sporting Magazine of 1846 reported on the second year of meetings held at the Newport Racecourse in Monmouthshire when a one day meeting took place on Tuesday 3rd September. The card opened with the Newport Stakes which went to Mr Smith’s Foxwhelp, but the meeting proved to be exceptionally good for Mr F Jacob and his mare Valeria, who showed her flexibility by winning the Pontypool Park Stakes and the Llantarnam Hurdle Stakes. Meetings lapsed for over three decades until the Llangibby and Tredegar Hunt Groups organised National Hunt events in the mid 1880s. However, the earliest races billed as ‘Newport’ were not held until a two day meeting from Wednesday 15th to Thursday 16th November 1899. By then the course was situated on the banks of the River Usk, close to the M4 near to Caerleon and less than a mile from Caerleon Station. Meetings stopped in 1913 prior to the outbreak of World War I and did not begin again until 1919. The course closed again for World War II but reopened in May 1946 and a year later the Queen Mother’s jockey and celebrated racing author, Dick Francis, rode Wrenbury Sahib at Newport on Saturday 14th June 1947, one week before his wedding. It proved to be an awkward ride and fateful decision because the horse fell and Dick broke his collarbone, leaving him with a permanent reminder on his wedding photographs. The final meeting took place on Monday 17th May 1948.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain Jones, Mr E Davenport
Principal Races

Welsh Champion Hurdle (now transferred to Chepstow), Pontypool Park Stakes, Monmouthshire Hunt Cup, The Llanarth Hurdle

Tuesday 3rd September 1846

The Newport Stakes over 2 miles
1. Foxwhelp owned by Mr Smith
2. Redstreak owned by Mr Evans
3. Faith owned by Mr Bullin

The Pontypool Park Stakes over a mile
1. Valeria owned by Mr F Jacob
2. Thurgarton owned by Mr E Davenport
3. Miss Bodkin owned by Mr Tyler

The Llanarth Hurdle over 2 miles
1. Elixir owned by Mr Davies
2. British Grenadier owned by Mr Bullin
3. The Dandy owned by Mr Stuart

The Monmouthshire Hunt Cup
1. Bold Davy owned by Mr W L Brewer
2. Novice owned by Captain Jones
3. Newport owned by Mr Fothergill

The Llantarnam Hurdle Stakes over 2 miles
1. Valeria owned by Mr F Jacob
2. British Grenadier owned by Mr Bullin
3. Elixir owned by Mr Davies

The Cefn Mably Purse over a mile and a half
1. Redstreak owned by Mr Evans
2. Faith owned by Mr Bullin
3. Miss Bodkin owned by Mr Tyler

The final meeting took place on Monday 17th May 1948.
Course today Less than a mile from Caerleon Station.
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

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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