By Phil Bell Executive director, Chepstow and Ffos Las Racecourses

As I write we are awaiting guidance from the Welsh Government about the return of spectators to Welsh racecourses. It follows Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday that crowds will be back in England’s elite sports venues from next Wednesday.

Chepstow’s first race meeting after Wednesday is on Saturday, December 5, so we are anxious to know if the Welsh Government is going to follow suit. There’s a significant amount of planning required if spectators are to be allowed on that date.

And we are around a month away from our biggest race of the year, the Coral Welsh Grand National on Sunday, December 27. Spectators at this meeting would be a very welcome Christmas present. Any updates will be posted on our website and social media feeds.

Entries for the race were made last week. Potters Corner, who last year became the first Welsh trained winner of the race since 1965, is one of the 51 entries. He’s not 100 per cent certain to try and retain his crown because he has other options with his primary aim being the Grand National at Aintree next April.

The first five from the 2019 race have been entered to run again. Last year’s second and third, Truckers Lodge and Yala Enki, are two of the four entries from the stable of 11-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

The fourth a year ago, Prime Venture, comes from the Evan Williams yard. He hit form recently with a 16-length win at Sedgefield. His owner Janet Davies is one of the leading owners at Ffos Las.

Heading the weights is Native River, the winner of the race in 2016 as well as the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Unbeaten in two races last season, he is one of four entries from the Colin Tizzard stable. Among the other entries is David Pipe’s Ramses De Teillee, three times successful at Chepstow.

Other Welsh-trained entries include Rebecca Curtis’s Joe Farrell, a former Scottish National winner; Evan Williams’ highly-regarded novice Secret Reprieve, who has only had four races over jumps; and Christian Williams’ Kitty’s Light, a four-year-old who finished like a train to come third in Wincanton’s Badger Beer Silver Trophy earlier this month.

There are seven entries from Ireland, two of which are from the stables of Gordon Elliott and Joseph O’Brien, and two from Scotland.

The Bowen brothers have been flying the flag for Pembrokeshire in the last week.

James rode a double at Ascot on Saturday aboard Shang Tang and Wonderwall. Sean followed up Friday's win at Ascot on the impressive Harry Fry trained Metier with a double at Uttoxeter on Sunday with Pure Bliss and Misty Whisky – also for the Fry yard. As I write they are on 10 and 29 winners for the season respectively.

Another Pembrokeshire born jockey, Richard Patrick, added to his list of higher profile Saturday winners when he rode Demachine to victory at Ascot for trainer Kerry Lee.

There’s an additional meeting at Ffos Las this Sunday, November 29. It’s all live on Sky Sports Racing.