Well I hope you enjoyed a good Christmas Day and also the veritable feast of top class horse racing on Boxing Day. As I mentioned last week it’s a different column this week, as I take a look at the days big betting race the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
Coral Welsh Grand National Preview
A handicap chase to be run over 3m 5 ½ f now normally this race is run on soft or indeed heavy ground but it looks like this years renewal will be take place with good in the going description. Something that has not happened since 2005! Previous winning form at the course is considered to be a positive and lower weighted horses have tended to dominate in recent years. Given the unseasonably quickish ground expected today I am not sure that the lower weights will continue to have the edge over their higher weighted rivals. A field of 20 is declared to go to post with plenty of higher weighted horses standing their ground for this years race.
Here are some of the key trends from the last 10 years:
10 out 10 winners – Had run between 4 to 17 races over fences
10 out 10 winners – Had won at Chepstow or where having their first run at the track.
10 out of 10 winners – Had 1+ run in the last 90 days
10 out of 10 winners – Had finished in the first 6 on their last start
10 out of 10 winners – Had finished in the first 3 on one of their last three starts.
Age: 6 to 8 year olds have won 9 out of the last 10 renewals of the race although last years winner Mountainous won at the age of 11, that was the first win in the race for horse older than 9 for 20 years.
Looking at the above trends Interestingly it like we will see a bit of a ‘trends buster’ as the front three in the ante post betting for the race; Native River, Onenightinvienna and Carole’s Destrier have all run at Chepstow in the past without winning. Two other runners Viconte Du Noyer and Bishops Road also fail one of the above trends. The former finished outside the first 6 on his last start at Aintree and Bishop’s Road hasn’t finished in the first three on his last 3 starts.
Verdict: Native River and Carole’s Destrier were first and second in the Hennessey Gold Cup and you wouldn’t be too surprised if they finished first and second again. The extra three furlongs or so will suit the second but the forecast better ground is a likely help Native River who has top weight to carry here. The Philip Hobbs trained Onenightinvienna has been well backed ante post for the race and is another with solid claims. Of the front three I just prefer the chances of Native River. For those looking for a longer priced selection each way then Bishops Road should give you a decent run for your money. The 8 year old made an encouraging return to action when 4th at Newcastle over an inadequate 3m trip. That run 31 days ago should have put the gelding spot on fitness wise for the race. Very much an improver last winter, when moving to his present trainer, winning his first two starts in good style before not getting past the 1st fence in the Topham at Aintree or the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. His improved form seemed to come when faced with much softer ground than he is likely to get today. His trainer Kerry Lee took the race last year and her record in the race combined with her father Richard is and impressive 3 wins from 8 runners 4 placed. The horse was purchased to win at Aintree Grand National but a Welsh one would be a nice one to win too. Granted the going is a bit of a concern but at around 16/1 he rates a decent each way contender.
2:40 – Coral Welsh Grand National
Likely Winner – Native River – 3/1
Each way alternative – Bishops Road –18/1 @ BetVictor & Paddy Power
Normal eyecatcher service will resume next week as I take a look back at the racing over the festive period.
All that’s left now is to wish you a Happy New Year and I will see you all again in 2017!