Horse Racing: Russell's Silver tops Welsh National field

LUCINDA Russell's Silver By Nature now tops the weights for the Coral Welsh National after 13 horses were taken out of the 27 December race.

Burton Port had featured prominently in the market for the Chepstow marathon after his second in the Hennessy, but trainer Nicky Henderson had indicated he may bypass the extended three-mile-five-furlong race.

The six-year-old was indeed among the horses scratched from the race along with Neptune Collonges and Madison Du Berlais, which means Russell's Silver By Nature, trained at Milnathort in Perthshire, takes over at the top of the handicap.

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Last year's winner Dream Alliance is still in the field along with Jim Dreaper's 2008 hero Notre Pere, ante-post favourite Synchronised, Galant Nuit and Watamu Bay.

Officials at Lingfield, meanwhile, have called a 10.30am inspection for tomorrow ahead of Saturday's meeting. The track is due to stage their feature National Hunt meeting with the Grade Two December Novices' Chase the highlight of the seven-race card.

However, Lingfield's turf course is currently unraceable due to snow and frozen patches of ground so clerk of the course Neil Mackenzie Ross will have to check conditions tomorrow. The venue have the option of staging an all-weather Flat card on Saturday instead of the jumps fixture.

l Richard Hannon jnr believes Paco Boy has played a big part in his father being crowned champion trainer this year. A winner of three Group 1 races, the five-year-old has the final race of his career in Hong Kong this weekend.

He was originally due to retire after the Breeders' Cup to take up a new life at Highclere Stud but he will have one more outing in the Hong Kong Mile. "In a lot of ways he's been personally responsible for why my dad has become champion trainer," said Hannon jnr. "He's won Group 1s every year and we've got a lot of owners off the back of him.

• Aidan O'Brien will have to wait at least a week before finding out his punishment in relation to the Cape Blanco affair at York in May. The Ballydoyle trainer was initially charged with "acting in a manner prejudicial to the conduct and/or good reputation of racing" after instructing his employee, Pat Keating, not to trot up the horse in front of the BHA's veterinary officer and the senior racecourse veterinary surgeon as part of their examination of the colt after his Dante success.

That charge was later amended, and O'Brien admitted to "acting in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of horseracing in Great Britain" at a disciplinary panel hearing which concluded yesterday.An announcement is anticipated next week.

At the time, O'Brien explained he had refused the request to submit the colt to a second vet's inspection as he was worried Cape Blanco had suffered a recurrence of an injury and was being prepared for a flight home.