Sport and pasttime in wales

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Horse racing and showjumping

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Horse racing and showjumping

Rasio ceffylau / Horse racing

Although horses were widely used in Welsh agriculture before the twentieth century, it was the gentry who first developed horse racing as a sport in Wales, as in other parts of the UK.  Races were held in several parts of Wales by the 1830s and they attracted interest from all social classes as well as visitors from England.

Despite their widespread appeal, horse races were not to everyone’s taste. They were often linked to betting, drunkenness and unruly behaviour, which caused a good deal of dismay among Nonconformists.

The working classes’ interest was maintained and increased through newspaper coverage and the opening of betting shops in town centres.

The highlight in the Welsh horse racing calendar is the Welsh Grand National which is held between Christmas and New Year’s Day at Chepstow Race Course.

Famous Welsh names in horse racing include the jockeys Jack Anthony, Hywel Davies and Carl Llewellyn. David Broome and Sir Harry Llewellyn also rose to fame in the field of showjumping in the second half of the twentieth century.

Items on the Gathering the Jewels website:






Martin Johnes, A History of Sport in Wales (Cardiff, 2005)
The Welsh Academy Encylopaedia of Wales (Cardiff, 2008)



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