Testing conditions for rescheduled Welsh National but no problems expected
With four inches of rain having hit Chepstow since Christmas Day, groundstaff at the track have worked a minor miracle to get the rescheduled Coral Welsh Grand National meeting on.
Unsurprisingly the ground was described as heavy on Friday, but no late problems are anticipated and clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is looking forward to a great renewal of the famous marathon chase.
“We had only 2mm on Friday, and no more rain is forecast,” he said. “Conditions will obviously be very testing and we’re omitting a couple of fences and hurdles but, all things being equal, we’ll be fine.
“We’ve had tremendous support from ITV, our sponsor Coral and the BHA to get this fixture on, and we can all look forward to the big day now.”
The Levy Board’s contribution to Chepstow’s prize-money amounts to £117,034 – the grant which would have been given on the original day and transferred to the rescheduled meeting in full.
No problems are envisaged for Sandown either, where the ground was described as heavy, soft in places.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: “We had 10mm in total yesterday, but it’s been dry since and temperatures are expected to remain a couple of degrees above freezing tonight. No inspection is planned.”
At Fontwell, however, which has been hit by more than four inches of rain since its Boxing Day meeting, officials plan an early look to gauge prospects for Monday’s meeting.
An inspection will take place on Saturday at 10am, and clerk of the course Tracey O’Meara said on Friday: “We’ve had 25mm in the last three days and couldn’t race at the moment. More rain is forecast.”
A cold spell is due to replace the wet weather over the second part of the weekend, and Sunday’s jumps meeting at Newcastle is subject to an 8am inspection on raceday, with freezing overnight temperatures forecast.
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