National fancies ready to reroute

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The Independent Online
The Welsh National, first run at Cardiff in 1895, will be staged outside the Principality for the first time at Newbury on Saturday. Following the abandonment of Monday's Chepstow card, the transfer of the race to the Berkshire course was official ly sanctioned yesterday.

The contest is open to the 16 horses confirmed at the original race's five-day declaration stage and all the market leaders for the Coral-sponsored race look likely to stand their ground.

The race, which will be run over three miles and six furlongs, around 110 yards further than the trip at Chepstow, will be the fifth race on the card and, due off at 2.45, will be part of BBC Television's five-race coverage.

The £40,000 race is a substantial added attraction to a card that includes the £27,000 Grade One Challow Hurdle and the £25,000 Ladbroke Gold Cup Handicap Chase.

With heavy rain falling at Newbury yesterday, the concern now is that the race should not be abandoned for a second time. More precipitation is forecast, but according to the clerk of the course, Richard Pridham, there should be no problems. "Drier weather is expected from tomorrow night," he said. "We have good drainage and although the ground will be soft we should have no problems racing."

Yesterday's card at Stratford and today's meeting at Carlisle were abandoned yesterday because of waterlogging.

WELSH NATIONAL (Newbury, Saturday).

Coral: 2-1 Master Oats, 7-2 Earth Summit, 4-1 Lord Relic, 13-2 Party Politics, 10-1 Chatam, 12-1 Miinnehoma, 16-1 Dakyns Boy & Gold Cap, 20-1 Capability Brown.

LADBROKE GOLD CUP HANDICAP CHASE (Newbury, Saturday). Ladbroke: 5-1 Indian Tonic, Mere Class, 7-1 Couldnt Be Better, Dont Tell The Wife, General Pershing, Mr Boston, Warner For Winners, 8-1 others.

n David Nicholson may not find out for a fortnight whether he is to be charged by the Jockey Club in connection with a fracas at Kempton on Boxing Day in which he is alleged to have hit a photographer. John Maxse, a Jockey Club press officer, said yesterday: "Contrary to some reports, David Nicholson has not been summoned to Portman Square. The Kempton stewards were not able to speak to him yesterday so the matter was referred to the Jockey Club for further investigation. We have investigating officerswho will talk to everyone concerned in the matter before any action is taken. A decision will be taken as soon as possible. Probably in the next couple of weeks."