sport

Chepstow abandon big card

Thursday's meeting at Chepstow has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track, with the Welsh National moved to next year.

Clerk of the course Keith Ottesen called a 12 noon inspection on Christmas Eve and with further rain forecast, he was left with little option but to call off the meeting.

However, the card, which was due to feature the Coral Welsh National, will now be run on Saturday week.

The racecourse tweeted: "Due to a waterlogged track & further rain forecast, the Coral Welsh National has been abandoned & has been rescheduled to Sat 5 Jan 2013."

The abandonment of Wednesday's original slot means this year's renewal of the Welsh National, which has been sponsored by Coral since 1973, will be televised by Channel 4 and not the BBC.

Coral spokesman Simon Clare said: "With the meeting clearly under threat, Chepstow and Coral have been working closely, and communicating with the vital people at Channel 4, the Levy Board and the BHA, to make sure that the race meeting would go ahead on the first Saturday in January.

"This is a landmark year for the sponsorship, the 40th, and we were all totally committed to getting it on.

"It is desperately disappointing for all the people who work on BBC Racing as they have been great supporters of the Coral Welsh National over the years, but on the other hand it is very exciting that the big race will hopefully feature on the first Saturday of the 'new' Channel 4 Racing presentation.

"It is also the type of race that works brilliantly as a feature handicap on a Saturday, with plenty of popular staying chasers running that have big followings amongst racing fans and punters, and it wouldn't surprise me if the move to a Saturday sees a big uplift in betting turnover on the race.

"With the race being re-opened to all horses that were left in at the weights publication stage, all ante post bets placed since that date are now 'alive' and we are very hopeful of a full field for the Coral Welsh National on January 5."