In a year that has thrown up more chaos than we could ever have possibly imagined, the bright spot in the jumps season was supposed to be the 2020 Welsh Grand National.
Due to take place at Chepstow Racecourse on Sunday 27th December, it was inevitable that a course inspection would be required given the mix of recent terrible weather. However, hopes were still high that Chepstow would be okay and we would finally get to see a Grand National in 2020.
But as we now know, torrential rain, thanks to Storm Bella, hit the south Wales track and the area was hit by 100mm of rain at the start of the week. Compounding the problem was a further 27mm of rain overnight. That left areas of false ground on the track that could not be bypassed.
Speaking to the Racing Post, Clerk of the course Libby O’Flaherty said: “It’s such a shame to have to cancel the meeting as we’ve tried so hard to get the fixture on.
“We just have one problem area in the back straight, where the old water jump used to be, but it’s on the chase and hurdle track and there’s no way around it.
“The rest of the track has taken the 127mm of rain we’ve had in the past week very well, so it’s very frustrating for everyone involved.
“We will reschedule the meeting for January 9 and hopefully the weather will be nicer to us then.”
Welsh National Runners
So what now for the runners and connections of the 2020 Welsh National? While they wait they could always play sloty online or perhaps just hold out for the next couple of weeks and hope that the weather is kinder on January 9th 2021!
The postponement of the Welsh Grand National is becoming a bit of a tradition. And 2020 is certainly not the first time that weather has played havoc with the fixture.
Heavy rain or frost has meant a change in the schedule in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017 but each time the race has still successfully taken place a few weeks later. So which runners will benefit from the extra couple of weeks’ break?
Secret Reprieve is still the race favourite with the Evan Williams trained six-year-old an impressive winner at Chepstow last time out. But can he do it again or will the likes of Springfield Fox or The Two Amigos spoil the party?
With the rescheduled fixture remaining as a seven-race card, with Welsh Grand National entries will now revert to the horses entered at the Weights Published stage. As per usual, declarations for all races on the card will be at the 48-hour stage as normal.
More information on race times and other fixture information will be available this week. Thankfully we only have a few days to wait until the race gets under way and we get another great winner of the Welsh Grand National.