The soft tracks of Chepstow will welcome another round of racing on Wednesday 20th of January, with authorities still to confirm the bends and distances. The race day will be behind closed doors, but fans will be welcome to the stands upon passing through a testing station
at the course. The weather forecast says to expect clear skies and a lot of fun, with Chepstow offering seven races, with four class 4 races on the cards, two of them being GBB races. The big events are still months away but the online bookies for the Grand National and Cheltenham are already very alert as these early races of the year give insight into the form and conditioning of horses coming into the big events.
The day as Chepstow kicks off with the PROVIDERS OF MANPOWER SILVER SHINE NOVICES’ HURDLE RACE, a 2m 11y run to a 5,800 GBP finish. 41 horses will be at the starting grid for this one, all aged four years and above. A large starting grid means the opportunity for some foreign names to get a run and assert themselves at the start of the year. Next up will be another GBB race, a class 3 2m 3f 98y run for 10,800 GBP. The THANKS TO NATHAN WILLIAMS NOVICES’ LIMITED HANDICAP STEEPLECHASE will see 17 jockeys at the starting grid, with six French horses in the mix. This will be the biggest prizemoney of the day, but not the longest run. A class 4 GBB race is tucked between the two class 3 races of the day, the THANKS TO DAI MATTHEWS MAIDEN HURDLE RACE, a 4+ years 2m 3f 100y run that will see 43 horses at the starting grid.
Two more class 4 races kick off the 3 pm races and are tied for the longest distances of the day at 2m 7f and 131y. The IRON LADY’S MARES’ HANDICAP STEEPLECHASE is a Hereford Mares’ Chase Series qualifier, while the THANKS TO ALAN QUINTON HANDICAP HURDLE RACE will see 22 horses take to the starting grid. The last race of the day will be the TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK HANDICAP HURDLE RACE, a class 5 for horses four years old and beyond, rated 1-100, gunning a distance of 2m 3f 100y. 44 horses will be on the starting grid, with a few foreign horses in the mix, a trend that will only continue to grow as we draw near to the big events. The prizemoney will be 4,200 GBP, but what the jockeys and trainers will most want out of this one is to see their horses ramping up the conditioning and looking fit.
The official distances for the races are still to be released, which means there will be a change before race day, and that may have a large impact on outcomes, so stay tuned and be on the lookout.