The Racing Horse takes a long hard hard look at the 2017 Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) and offer some trends, betting advice and attempt to find the 1-2-3-4. The race will be shown live on ITV4. This is one of those types of races where the trends are invaluable and we ignore them at our peril. This piece will be updated on Friday evening...
The race was due to be ran on Wednesday 27th December 2017 but due to a waterlogged track has been moved to this Saturday. As we go to post on Tuesday the rain continues to hammer the Chepstow racecourse so it could easily fall prey to the weather again. For the purposes of this post we will assume it will go ahead under very heavy conditions. Although there are outbreaks of rain forecast in the week, we will also get some dry spells so we hope the race can be run. Although this is the fourth time the race has been postponed since 2010, on every other occasion it was run successfully soon afterwards. As we go to post 25 horses remain in the big race and the final field of 20 will be announced on Friday. For more course information please click here
Any winner of this race must be stamina laden, the course and the conditions make this a prerequisite! Ideally the horse should be 9yo or younger, preferably 8yo or younger and carry less than 11st, but preferably less than 10st 8lbs. We have already removed those outside our bandwidth and they include most of the favourites Beware The Bear (8/1), Chase The Spud (10/1), Folsum Blue (9/1) and Rock The Kasbah (10/1).
2017 Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
15/15: Had won between 1-5 chase races before
15/15: Raced within the last 7 weeks
15/15: Had won over at least 3m before (fences)
14/15: Aged 9yo or younger
13/15: Placed in the top 4 last time out
12/15: Carried 11st 0lbs or less
12/15: Aged 8yo or younger
11/15: Carried 10st 8lbs or less
10/15: Had won just 2 or 3 times before over fences
10/15: Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
..9/15: Irish bred
..8/15: Had won over fences at Chepstow before
..6/15: Unplaced favourites
..6/15: Won last time out
..5/15: French bred
..5/15: Had run in the Welsh National before
..4/15: Ran at Chepstow last time out
..2/15: Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
..2/15: Trained by Paul Nicholls
..2/15: Winning favourites
WHAT HORSES ARE IN THE GOLDEN BANDWIDTH?
Although the average winning SP in the last 15 years is 10/1 the indications are the winner might be at a bigger price and certainly not one in the first four or five of the betting. So what horses remain in this golden bandwidth? There are five realistic contenders, they include Wild West Wind (12/1), Buckhorn Timothy (40/1), Vintage Clouds (12/1), On The Road (33/1) and Ask The Weatherman (12/1). Two horses who might sneak a fourth or fifth place include Two Smokin Barrels (50/1) and Streets Of Promise (66/1).
Our number one consideration towards any bet is the form a trainer's horses and on this occasion chasers in particular. Jack R Barber (25%), Sue Smith (15%), Tom George (14%) and Colin Tizzard (14%) are of more significance than Evan Williams with just 9% and Michael Scudamore's 8% but those two trainers remain in the mix and we are not ignoring them completely. Chepstow form is very important in the context of this race and by that we mean winning or second-placed form. So from here we look closely at:
WILD WEST WIND has Chepstow winning form and the trends remind us how important that is. He is a dour stayer and heavy ground is his optimum conditions and the Tom George inmate is our selection for the race. He advertised his claims earlier in December when he won the trial at this course and has the most solid chance at 12/1. The owner Simon Clarke told us: "We know Wild West Wind likes Chepstow and we know he likes heavy ground, so we were hopeful." Back in January 2017 and before that we remember Tom George saying: "Hopefully I can see Wild West Wind developing into a nice staying handicap chaser and races like the Welsh National next season might be on his agenda." This race has been his target for over a year now.
BUCKHORN TIMOTHY has placed form at Chepstow and heavy ground form, this 9yo comes here searching for a hat-trick. The 40/1 on offer with Coral and BetVictor seems a fair price. Being trained by Colin Tizzard and carrying just 10st 12lbs adds interest and appeal.
VINTAGE CLOUD has no Chepstow form but has soft and heavy ground form. Ran well at Haydock last time out and this stiffer test is sure to be in his favour, conversely Sue Smith is 0-2 at Chepstow over the last five years and a slight negative. Also the 12/1 available looks a little short.
ON THE ROAD is the most consistent of animals and a rare trait coming from Evan Williams yard. For example his last 1111221112 and is now 7 wins from 16 starts. He has to prove he gets the trip and it is a huge surprise the trainer has not sent him to his local track before now? Loves heavy ground and wins race at this time of year and carrying a feather weight of 10st 5lbs so there are worse 33/1 shots. The trip is the concern but hence the 33/1 price.
Ask The Weatherman at 12/1 is an excellent Point-To-Pointer with heavy ground preference. This 9yo has won 9 of his 10 points and so far has won 2 of his 3 runs over fences under rules. He would have been an 8yo last week so age on his side and many might remember him as running a solid seventh in the Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. He’s won over 3m4f and on heavy ground so conditions look fine and he could threaten a place. It would be a huge story for his trainer to win the race but one that is unlikely...
The Racing Horse View:
1st WILD WEST WIND 12/1 2nd BUCKHORN TIMOTHY 40/1 3rd VINTAGE CLOUD 12/1 4th ON THE ROAD 33/1
Today's Pacafi: click here
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