02 November 2019
Arena Racing Company ("ARC") and Chepstow Racecourse can confirm amendments to the official distance of the Coral Welsh Grand National ahead of the 2019 renewal on Friday 27 December 2019.
The start of the race has been moved back up the home straight, with an additional fence jumped at the beginning of the race (now 23 in total). The official distance has therefore increased from 3m 5f 110yds to 3m 6f 130 yds.
This decision has been taken in the interests of participant safety in allowing a longer run into the first bend. The move has the support of BHA, trainers and jockeys.
Chepstow's clerk of the course Libby O’Flaherty said: "We undertake a thorough review of the Coral Welsh Grand National every year, and have taken this move in the interests of safety for both horses and jockeys.
"Working with the PJA and BHA, we identified that the previous start led to a very strong gallop downhill into what is quite a tight left hand bend.
"As such, it was agreed that by moving the start back and jumping the first fence well before the turn, it would allow jockeys more opportunity to get into their preferred position before getting to that point."
Executive Director of Chepstow Racecourse, Phil Bell commented, "The change has been made as it can be a bit of a cavalry charge at the first bend with 20 horses all pumped up for the big prize.
"A couple of the jockeys have raised this so, following consultation with a number of parties, the decision was implemented in interests of safety."