AS the year comes to an end, the team at Chepstow have been busy working on many of the race day themes for 2020.

There are 30 race meetings next year, starting on Monday, 6th January.

The first feature meeting is on Saturday, 22nd February when we’ll be showing the Wales v France Six Nations game on all our screens – as well as hosting a programme of seven jump races. Advance tickets are just £10.

On Saturday, 4th April, we welcome From The Jam to play live after racing on Grand National Party Race Day. The band feature original Jam bass player Bruce Foxton and are sure to be a popular attraction.

Ticket sales for the James Arthur Race Night on Saturday, 6th June are going strongly and we are also about to launch our Caribbean Race Night tickets. The London based ska, reggae band The Dualers are the post racing entertainment.

This week we are putting the final touches to preparations for this Friday’s Coral Welsh Grand National. Thankfully, the weather is on our side and the current forecast presents absolutely no problems in terms of the meeting going ahead.

Last year’s winner Elegant Escape aims to become the first horse to secure back-to-back victories since the Martin Pipe-trained Bonanza Boy in 1988 and 1989. Potters Corner, trained at Ogmore by Sea by Christian Williams, is one of several horses trying to keep the prize in Wales.

Elegant Escape’s winning jockey last year was Tom O’Brien and he was also successful ten years ago on Dream Alliance. That victory symbolised the fantastic emotive stories the race can create.

The gelding’s owners The Alliance Partnership had reared the horse on an allotment near Blackwood in the Valleys. This rags to riches story has now been turned into a Warner Bros film starring Damian Lewis, due to be released in cinemas next April.

Friday’s card also features the £65,000 Grade One Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle and leading Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien has entered his exciting prospect Cerberus.

If you are planning to come along on Friday, you can buy tickets from £27 online in advance up until 4pm on Boxing Day. Tickets from £32 will be available on the day. Parking is free and children aged 17 and under go free. The gates open at 10am and the first race is off at 12.30pm.

It’s been a tremendous year for Welsh horse racing with plenty of jockeys tasting big successes all over the country. Ben Jones won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, Connor Brace was successful in the Scottish Champion Hurdle and Richard Patrick was victorious in the Bet Victor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Earlier in the year, Sean Bowen won a Grade One hurdle at Aintree.

Another young jockey in form is Isabel Williams, daughter of trainer Evan. She rode a double at Fakenham last week and continues to impress with her patient riding style.

Let’s hope these riders all continue on top of their game in 2020.