2017 Welsh Grand National Update

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The Racing Horse updates our original piece and looks even closer at the runners and riders. This £85,425 to the winner race will be shown live on ITV4. There will be 20 runners jumping 22 fences on heavy tacky ground - jockeyship is always important but it might take an inspired/fairy tale ride to win this race today.

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


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. Since our original piece written on Monday and post on Tuesday nothing has happened to change our view of the first four, they are:


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." His latest comments are positive and our 12/1 looks a decent price," Tom George said yesterday: "He's in very good form and should like the ground more than most. We know he likes the track so we're going there in positive mood." He will be expertly ridden by Adrian Heskin.

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. Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer: "We've had this in mind for him all season and we gave him a couple of spins over hurdles, which he won. Like them all, he's got to handle the conditions, but he has a good attitude and should be all right." His 40/1 price now reads 25/1 so we have nicked a bit of value. Daryl Jacob rides and a positive in the saddle.

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. The original 12/1 looked a little short and that is our view today as he remains on that price.

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 hence the 33/1 price. He has been backed into 18/1 so once we are on the right side but will he stay, expect the excellent jockey Mitchell Bastyan to drop this one to see if he can get him home.

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. Nick Scholfield, jockey was bullish: "He carried a lot of weight at Exeter on soft ground, and I don't see any reason why he won't stay three miles and five furlongs on heavy. He has got his conditions and the race should suit him. He remains relatively unexposed and there should be more to come from him."

So our view of the first four remain the same as Monday and we have secured best prices!

 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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