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National given a Grand boost

Aintree have announced that prize money for the John Smith's Grand National will increase to a record £950,000 next year - a rise of £25,000 on the 2010 race.

The world's most famous steeplechase, which returns to the Liverpool course on Saturday, April 9, will be its seventh under headline sponsor John Smith's, with 2011 being the first year in a new three-year contract renewal with Aintree.

Aintree's managing director Julian Thick said: “We are delighted the Grand National will be worth a record £950,000 in 2011, making it by far the richest jump race in Europe.

Meanwhile Chepstow’s Coral Welsh National meeting on Monday has been postponed until Saturday, January 8.

The course remains unfit for racing and there is no prospect of conditions improving sufficiently over the next few days.

Officials have moved quickly to save the entire card, however, with the meeting now set for Saturday week.

Chepstow were due to race on Sunday, January 9 but have exchanged places in the racing calendar with Sedgefield.

“Officials at Kempton will stage a noon inspection today to decide if their top-class Boxing Day fixture will go ahead but Wetherby is failed to make it while Wolverhampton is subject to inspection.

Colin Tizzard has had a change of heart and is likely to run Cue Card before the Cheltenham Festival.

With the big meeting still the best part of three months away, Tizzard believes there is plenty of time to give his exciting prospect another race after considering saving him until the Festival afer his excellent second to Menorah in the International back at Prestbury Park two weeks ago.

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