Coral Welsh National day at Chepstow Racecourse – scheduled for Monday 27 December – has had to be abandoned because of a combination of frost and heavy snow.
However, with the support of sponsors Coral and BBC Television, the meeting and all of the scheduled races to take place on that day have been switched to Saturday 8 January.
Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen carried out an inspection today at 12 noon and decided that there was no prospect of the racecourse being raceable by Monday.
With abandonment a distinct possibility for some days, the racecourse’s owners Northern Racing held discussions with the British Horseracing Authority, the Levy Board, Coral bookmakers and the BBC.
Chepstow Racecourse was next due to race on Sunday 9 January, while its sister racecourse at Sedgefield was due to race on Saturday 8 January. The BHA has allowed the two racecourses to exchange those dates.
As all of the races scheduled to take place on 27 December will be moved to Saturday 8 January, the races originally scheduled to take place on Sunday 9 January at Chepstow will now not take place, while Sedgefield’s card now on Sunday 9 January will be exactly the same as the races originally scheduled for Saturday 8 January. Chepstow and Sedgefield Racecourses apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to owners and trainers.
Tony Kelly, Group Managing Director of Northern Racing, said: “Coral Welsh National Day at Chepstow is always a tremendous occasion; not only is it valued by all in jump racing, it is also a major sporting event in Wales generating widespread racing interest.
“Consequently, it is great news that, thanks to the cooperation of our sponsors, partners, the BHA and the Levy Board, we at Northern Racing have been able to rearrange our fixtures and find a new Saturday date for the race.
“We are naturally delighted that the BBC have stood by their decision to cover the fixture and will televise the day’s key races, so that racing fans across the country can enjoy their superb coverage.
“Everyone involved has worked quickly to make the new arrangements possible, and we are now looking forward to a great day’s racing on Saturday 8 January.”
Simon Clare, Coral Trading & PR Director, said: “The decision to re-stage the Coral Welsh National is great news for us as a sponsor but even more important for the betting and the racing industries which are suffering terribly at the hands of these extraordinary and extreme weather conditions.
“The Welsh National is one of the biggest betting races in the calendar and it would have been a major blow to lose this race and the accompanying card, so we had no hesitation in confirming our support for the new date.
“Tony Kelly and his team at Chepstow deserve great credit for the speed and enthusiasm they have shown in reorganising the race and we are also indebted to the BBC for agreeing to broadcast the race in its new slot. Moving the Coral Welsh National meeting to Saturday 8 January will create a sensational day of jump racing complementing the Tolworth Hurdle card at Sandown, and will generate a significant increase in turnover and levy from this day,” added Simon Clare.
All admission tickets and hospitality packages purchased in advance can be used on the new date.
Race times will be announced later.
Coral Welsh National day – Saturday 8 January: Tickets are available on the day – Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure £26; Premier Enclosure £36. They can also be purchased in advance at www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk. Accompanied children aged under 16 are admitted free of charge. Senior citizens and students with appropriate identification get a £5 discount; and one carer is admitted free with a disabled badge holder.