Horse racing in Wales has a long tradition dating back to the 18th century.

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Steeplechasing began at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse in the 1850s and is still a racecourse to this day.

When diarist John Byng in 1787 mentioned that he was passing 'not far from Cowbridge race ground' he was acknowledging the fame of the race meetings, which had grown from a family occasion into 'the Glamorgan races'.

This brought large crowds to races and a mingling of the social classes though the sport itself remained in the control of the gentry.

The Welsh gentry used horseracing to integrate themselves with their English counterparts, to gain a place for themselves in an elite British culture.

Due to the growth of other leisure activities and the cost of keeping and breeding horse, flat and national hunt racing went into long-term decline in Wales from the middle of the 19th century.

From the middle of the 20th century most of the country's racecourses had closed.

Today only three racecourses survive in Wales, Chepstow, Bangor-on-Dee and Ffos Las which was opened in 2009.

In the mid and later 19th century there was growing pressure from religious quarters due to what was seen as the immoral and drunkenly behaviour that accompanied race days.

This led to the Wrexham Races being abandoned between 18.

1926 saw the opening of Chepstow Racecourse at St Arvans, and although remaining on the margins of British horseracing until the opening of the Severn Bridge in 1966, it is now the country's premier course.

Chepstow holds the Welsh National, which is held annually between Christmas and New Year.