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Once again the Welsh Grand National is to fall victim to the continued Covid-19 pandemic and while the big race will still take place on Monday, 27th December, it will be held behind closed doors with only racecourse officials, veterinary staff and trainers/jockeys allowed to enter the venue.
Welsh Grand National set to take place behind closed doors
The Coral Welsh Grand National is to take place with no spectators in attendance for the second consecutive year, the Welsh government taking a strict line on sporting events due to the increase of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Indeed due to a surge in recorded cases throughout the country, the government has announced that all sporting events due to be held in the principality from Boxing Day onwards will all take place with no spectators until further notice.
This is yet another blow to a sport still reeling from lockdowns and race meeting cancellations throughout the past eighteen months and the big concern is whether further racing restrictions will be imposed throughout the UK.
Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething announced the latest measures as a response to the rapidly-spreading but allegedly milder variant. He 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.”
The Welsh Grand National is the highlight of the calendar at Chepstow Racecourse and it is generally held on December 27th. Last year’s event was postponed until January due to a waterlogged course and the subsequent rearranged meeting took place behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
Ahead of this year’s race, over 6,000 tickets had been sold and all customers will be contacted in the course of the next week or so.