Ffos Las has announced the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle will now be run as a limited handicap over two and a half miles, with an increase in prize money also confirmed.
Officials at the Carmarthenshire venue have made the changes to their feature race on February 2 in a bid to make it more competitive and to avoid a clash with the Betfred Mobile Sports Contenders Hurdle at Sandown the same day.
Tim Long, Ffos Las general manager and clerk of the course, said: "We are proactively taking this initiative to ensure that the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle is as competitive as possible in the years to come.
"Making it a limited handicap and increasing the prize-money - up by 16% next year compared to when it was last run in 2011 - will make the race more attractive to owners and trainers.
"There is no getting away from the fact that Sandown Park's Listed hurdle scheduled for the same day is very similar to our race, so the increase to two and a half miles makes ours a different type of contest.
"I would be very hopeful that we will get a very competitive entry for the 2013 renewal - and we are once again delighted that William Hill is sponsoring our principal race."
Oscar Whisky, owned by Ffos Las chairman Dai Walters, beat four rivals in 2011. However, he is unlikely to bid for a repeat as his trainer Nicky Henderson stated on Tuesday that the horse was likely to run in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham the week before.
Walters said Oscar Whisky would only run in the race if the Cleeve Hurdle was abandoned.
He stated: "We see the move as a positive step. Sandown staged a similar race on the same day and we don't race on many Saturdays so we wanted a race that attracted a bigger field. By changing it to a handicap William Hill are happy and the trip will hopefully attract a better field.
"We would definitely look at the race for Oscar if the Cleeve was off. I had a good chat with Nicky the other day and we said if we don't go over three miles in the Cleeve we'll never know. We'll know after the Cleeve if he stays three miles and if he does he'll be favourite for the World Hurdle."
2 September 2014Maguire nearing racecourse return
Estimate among bumper Cup entry
Maguire hails 'fantastic' Peddlers
Balding staying grounded with Park
Culloty joins Leger Legends
Regard among September possibles
Cox takes Haydock plunge with Love
Paddy gunning for Chepstow
Athenian has sales date
No hurry for Cape call
Mirza on Abbaye trail
1 September 2014McCain salutes retiring Peddlers
Seven Towcester meetings go to ARC
Further checks for Condon
Due set to miss Sprint date
Condon 'stable' after Cork fall
Queen rules supreme for Smith
River eases to debut success
Carla tops it up to four
Atzeni strikes on Cappella
Ocean team want Haydock rain
Big time beckons for Orange
Palmer aims high with Aktabantay
Hills ponders Dutch gameplan
31 August 2014Atzeni strikes on Cappella
Imminent return Likely
Logic on comeback trail
Dan edges closer to Mile high
Keane error costly for Unrequited
Notarfbad makes all in Mildmay
Orange enjoys Big win
Fabre strikes with Fintry
Akta in late Solario swoop
Icon takes starring role
Pearl fires home in Bullet
Shortall suffers injury setback
Tent team consider chasing
30 August 2014Keane error costly for Unrequited
Shepherd's sent to Tower
Time will tell for Charlton
Stack filly Alive to chance
Sansevero sent to Tower
Palmer plots Solario success
Fabre has high hopes for Fintry
Belardo team keen on Champagne
Rigueur targets Chester consolation
Native in hunt for Bullet gains
Arc still target for Taghrooda