Welsh Grand National: Waterlogged track forces race to be postponed until January

Chepstow Racecourse chief executive Phil Bell stands knee deep in water at the course on 27 December, 2017
Chepstow Racecourse chief executive Phil Bell stands knee deep in water at the course on 27 December, 2017

The 2017 Welsh Grand National has been postponed until January because of a waterlogged track at Chepstow.

The race was scheduled to be run on Wednesday but organisers cited 60mm of rain and snow in the previous 48 hours for forcing the abandonment.

After discussions with the British Horseracing Authority the race has been rescheduled for Saturday, 6 January.

Native River, trained by Colin Tizzard, won the 2016 Welsh National, which went ahead on the scheduled date.

However, the event has a history of postponements.

In 1994 it was switched to Newbury, while the 1995 and 1996 races were abandoned completely because of frost.

The 2017 delay will be the fourth postponement in eight years.

The 2010, 2012 and 2015 Welsh Nationals took place in the Januaries that followed with frost or waterlogging causing problems.

However, racecourse bosses believe December is the best time of the year to run the races.

"This is a question that we have asked ourselves and had discussions about quite a few times," clerk of the course Keith Ottesen told BBC Sport Wales.

"But we are actually really well placed if the weather is with us to entertain our customers and the racing public and the race itself is scheduled amongst other long distance races and it falls in a really good position.

"We always come down to the conclusion when we have good days around this time of year it is definitely the best period we can run the race in."

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