DECEMBER is a really important month at Chepstow Racecourse.

The biggest day of our year is Coral Welsh Grand National day on Thursday 27th December, and we’ve been preparing for this race meeting for several months.

We also have another of our busiest racedays this weekend, plus Christmas party nights and other non racing events.

Saturday’s Christmas Party Raceday is one of the busiest of the year in terms of hospitality – we’ll have 1,350 people to cater for between restaurants, marquees and hospitality boxes celebrating Christmas parties, so it’s big week for our hospitality and catering teams. Entertainment includes a DJ during the afternoon and the Stereophonics tribute band StereoIronics after racing, plus a ‘Best Christmas Jumper’ competition, in addition to the seven races.

A flood caused by burst pipes earlier this year caused huge damage to a large area of our Premier Grandstand, putting the Premier Bar, Silks Restaurant and lots of hospitality boxes out of action for several months. I’m delighted to say that the refurbishment work is almost complete, and will be in use for this year’s Welsh National. The restaurant has had a stylish makeover and will be offering new menus for 2019, and has been renamed The View Restaurant. We also wanted to offer customers the option to upgrade to an upmarket bar, so we’re pleased to open a new Gin and Fizz Lounge opposite the Winning Line, offering some of the best views in the house. This will also be open for the Welsh National meeting.

The refurbished Premier Bar is expected to reopen in February. These facilities will complement our recently opened Cwtch Coffi coffee shop and Native River Members Lounge, which have been really popular since they opened recently. It’s nice for all of the team to feel like we’re making some progress and we’re looking forward to showing off our improved facilities in the coming months.

There’s a new favourite for the Coral Welsh Grand National this week: the Colin Tizzard trained Sizing Tennessee won the Ladbrokes Trophy (formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup) at Newbury on Saturday and is expected to run next in our feature race on Thursday, 27th December. Two years ago his stablemate Native River won both races, before going on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season. Sizing Tennessee hasn’t had the high profile start to his career that Native River had, and at the age of 10 he was the oldest horse in the race at Newbury, but he has run well against good horses in recent seasons and seems to be still improving. He started off this year with a confidence building win in a smaller race at Fontwell before winning the Ladbrokes Trophy convincingly and deserves to be well fancied for the Welsh National.

We’ve launched a new promotional film for the Welsh National this week featuring Welsh stars Warren Gatland, Max Boyce, Sian Lloyd, and opera singers Rebecca Evans and Wynne Evans. Look out for it on social media. We’ve also announced that the national anthem will be sung on the day by Rebecca Evans and Wynne Evans. Rebecca has appeared previously on Welsh National day singing with Bryn Terfel. This year she performs with tenor Wynne Evans who has had a successful career in opera, a No 1 album in the classical charts and is well known for his role in the Go Compare advertisements, as well as for his BBC Wales radio show. Each singer will receive a donation to their chosen charity with Rebecca supporting the Welsh Alzheimers charity Ty Hapus and Wynne supporting Tŷ Cymorth Hospice, a specialist palliative care unit in Carmarthen.

For details of our upcoming race meetings please see our website If you’re interested in joining the busy team at the racecourse, vacancies are listed on our parent company ARC’s website