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Earliest meeting: Monday 15th April 1850
Final meeting: Thursday 22nd April 1852
The ancient parish of Bedwellty, in the Monmouthshire district of South Wales, is situated in the Ebbw and Sirhowy valleys, an area which relied heavily on coal mining. After a hard day down the pits the miners needed some relaxation, and they were welcomed at the races held in the middle of the 19th century.  The inaugural meeting took place in 1849, although the races were of an inferior quality and the day was ruined by cold, miserable weather which included snow and rain. However, the first meeting of note took place on Monday 15th April 1850, after a postponement the previous Thursday because of a heavy mist, and the local newspaper reported that they had ‘seldom witnessed so large and miscellaneous a field of spectators, although the grandstand was a poor attempt’.  The 3 ½ mile course was laid out over fair hunting ground on Rhoswen Farm and the stewards were George Homfray, Captain Jones and Richard Ion. The card opened with the Bedwellty Stakes over 3 ½ miles for gentlemen riders. A field of seven faced the starter, the race being won by Mr J F Rowland’s Giblets at the expense of Hope and Alexander. The Hunt Steeplechase which followed, also over the same 3 ½ mile course, went to Mr Matthew Ion’s Hope, defeating Giblets and Ballybar. The day finished with the Hack Stakes which was dominated by the Homfray family, with Ballybar owned by Mr L A Homfray beating Harkaway owned by Mr G Homfray. After racing a select party enjoyed a lavish dinner at the Castle Hotel in Tredegar. The meeting the next year was much more successful and opened with the Bedwellty Stakes, which was won by Justice to England for Mr Cartwright.  Throughout the day the Tredegar Brass Band entertained the crowd between races, and in the evening an Ordinary was held at the Castle Hotel in Tredegar. A follow-up meeting was held the next year on Thursday 22nd April 1852, but it proved to be the last.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Sir John Malcolm, Major Stretton
Principal Races Bedwellty Stakes, Hunt Steeplechase, Hack Stakes
The final meeting took place on Thursday 22nd April 1852.

Wednesday 30th April 1851
Bedwellty Stakes over 3 ½ miles
1. Justice to England, aged horse owned by Mr Cartwright
2. Kate Kearney, aged horse owned by Mr Wilkins
3. Confidence, 5 year old owned by Mr Matthew Jon

Course today A 3 ½ mile course in fields on Rhoswen Farm.
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

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 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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  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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