Welsh Grand National to take place behind closed doors

The Coral Welsh Grand National will take place without spectators for the second successive season at Chepstow on Monday.

The Welsh government has confirmed all sporting events in Wales will be held behind closed doors from Boxing Day due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething announced the new measures for indoor and outdoor sporting events in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

Gething said: “Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year. Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.

“We need to do everything we can to protect people’s health and control the spread of this awful virus.

“Throughout the pandemic we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. The advice is clear – we need to act now in response to the threat of Omicron. We are giving people as much notice of these decisions as we can.

“Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to be here to enjoy their favourite sports.”

Traditionally staged on December 27, the Welsh Grand National is the highlight of the year at Chepstow.

Secret Reprieve on his way to winning last year's Coral Welsh Grand National
Secret Reprieve on his way to winning last year’s Coral Welsh Grand National (David Davies/PA)

With the course waterlogged 12 months ago, last season’s renewal was rescheduled to take place in early January, but there were no paying customers on course to witness the impressive victory of the Evan Williams-trained Secret Reprieve.

More than 6,000 tickets have been sold in advance of this year’s meeting, but it will now once again take place without a crowd.

Chepstow Racecourse posted on Twitter: “Following the Welsh Government’s announcement, fixtures until mid-January will be run behind closed doors, without spectators, including the Coral Welsh Grand National. We’ll be contacting impacted customers very soon.”

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