The WELSH GRAND NATIONAL is now just two days away and all our preparations are in place and all we ask is for the trains run close to time. Looking at the weather forecast there is a small chance of a shower on Boxing Day but the weather looks great for Thursday and we should have good soft racing ground. This is great news! Of course the winner of this 3m5½f race will still have to be heavily laden with stamina but more horses come into the reckoning more so than if it was heavy ground.
This is Part 2 of 3 and our review will be posted on Friday. To see Part 1 click here
This race has gravitas and more than a Handicap Chase Grade 3, for example the winner receives: £85,425 2nd: £32,055 3rd: £16,050 4th: £7,995 5th: £4,020 and 6th: £2,010 and for each-way backers the jockeys will be well aware of the place money.
We remind our readers of the latest figures for Chepstow and note the top five trainers record at the track this season. Paul Nicholls does not have a runner in the big race, though as we go to post our horse Blackjack Kentucky goes in the Get Super Smart Boosts At Coral Maiden Hurdle (Class 4) over 2m3f100y and he gets optimum ground, so we are very hopeful of a good run.
Philip Hobbs does not have a runner in the race either though sends a couple to the course. At this stage Dan Skelton has just one entry but Welsh trainer Evan Williams has a number of entries including Pobbles Bay (currently 25/1) for the feature. We will look at this chances later in the piece but Colin Tizzard also has a number of entries at this point and has the current favourite Elegant Escape for the big one. We have already backed Ramses De Teillee at odds of around 9/1 but when the time is right place a small stake-saver on the Tizzard horse though the current 6/1 is ridiculously short in a race as competitive as this, this one must start bigger
CHEPSTOW RACECOURSE TEMPLATE
FAVOURITES NON-HANDICAP RACES (5 YEARS) HANDICAP RACES (5 YEARS) Hurdle: 58-123 for 47% (+2.81) 34-124 for 27% (-16.51) Chase: 11-27 for 41% (-6.04) 47-144 for 33% (+4.26) NHF: 15-45 for 33% (-8.13) 0-0 for - Total: 84-195 for 43% (-11.35) 81-268 for 30% (-12.25) TOP TRAINERS at Chepstow for current season Paul Nicholls: 7 wins from 19 for 37% (+15.50) Philip Hobbs: 4 wins from 28 for 14% (+6.33) Colin Tizzard: 3 wins from 18 for 17% (+11.50) Dan Skelton: 3 wins from 18 for 17% (+18.00) Evan Williams: 3 wins from 22 for 14% (+50.00) David Pipe: 1 win from 8 for 13% (-5.00) TOP JOCKEYS at Chepstow for current season Harry Cobden: 7 wins from 23 for 30% (+24.00) Richard Johnson: 6 wins from 24 for 25% (+19.50) Adam Wedge: 3 wins from 20 for 15% (+52.00) Bryony Frost: 2 wins from 6 for 33% (+1.25) Bridget Andrews: 2 wins from 8 for 25% (+16.00)
RULING OUT SOME at the TOP of the MARKET
We are going to rule out a few at the top of the market. Only two horses in the last 27 years have carried top weight to victory so that makes life tough for Ballyoptic and we have ruled that one out. Folsom Blue was an unfortunate fourth in the Irish National last season, he enjoyed a spin over hurdles last month and the booking of Jamie Codd is a positive but as an 11yo carrying 11st 2lbs we have ruled this one out also. The 13yo Raz De Maree is only 2lb higher than when winning last season’s renewal but has shown nothing since and isn't getting any younger. Elegant Escape should enjoy this test but hasn't yet gone beyond 3m2f so a leap of faith is needed so not one for us. That said, he’s going the right way judged on his second to stablemate Sizing Tennessee in the Ladbrokes Trophy. That’s the best piece of recent form on offer and if lasting home has an obvious chance - but not at the current 5/1 price!
DAVID PIPE has TWO in the RACE
Yala Enki and Vintage Clouds are recent winners while Dawson City and Holly Bush Henry may be the best of those nearer the foot of the weights. Ron's Dream will benefit from return to around 3m and acts on testing going. This tough and reliable type is now tried with a tongue tie. David Pipe has two in the race entitled to respect. Vieux Lion Rouge is a stout stayer who ran well again in the Becher Chase earlier this month while Ramses De Teillee has won three of his four previous starts here, including the latest earlier this month and is our first choice.
This increased test of stamina should play to the strengths of ELEGANT ESCAPE, who looks well treated off a 4 lb lower mark than when runner-up in the Ladbroke at Newbury and can provide Colin Tizzard with a second winner in the last 3 years. Final Nudge, who could revive after a break, Yala Enki, Looksnowtlikebrian and Ramses de Teillee are others to consider.
FIVE of INTEREST
In race card order the five we considered were Vintage Cloud (11/1), Vieux Lion Rouge (14/1), Baie Des Iles (11/1), Ramses De Teillee (9/1) and Ron's Dream (20/1). We had to place them in a 1-2-3-4 and leave one of those out, so
THE RACING HORSE VERDICT:
1: RAMSES DE TEILLEE 9/1 2: VIEUX LION ROUGE (14/1) 3: RON'S DREAM 20/1 4: VINTAGE CLOUD 11/1. In effect we have gone for a David Pipe 1-2.
MASSIVELY IMPORTANT TREND!
On the trends issue we note 14 of the last 16 winners have been aged 9yo or younger and 13 of the last 16 have carried less than 11st 0lbs but preferably less than 10st 8lbs.
2017 Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
15/15: Won between 1-5 chase races before (100%)
15/15: Raced within the last 7 weeks (100%)
15/15: Won over at least 3m before over fences (100%)
14/15: Aged 9yo or younger (93%)
13/15: Placed in the top 4 last time out (87%)
12/15: Carried 11st 0lbs or less (80%)
12/15: Aged 8yo or younger (80%)
11/15: Carried 10st 8lbs or less (73%)
10/15: Won just 2 or 3 times before over fences (67%)
10/15: Returned 10/1 or shorter (67%)
..9/15: Irish bred (60%)
..8/15: Won over fences at Chepstow before (53%)
..6/15: Unplaced favourites (40%)
..6/15: Won last time out (40%)
..5/15: French bred (33%)
..5/15: Ran in the Welsh National before (33%)
..4/15: Ran at Chepstow last time out (27%)
..2/15: Trained by Jonjo O’Neill (13%)
..2/15: Trained by Paul Nicholls (13%)
..2/15: Winning favourites (13%)
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 10/1
Our selections for the day are:
12.30: BLACKJACK KENTUCKY
1.05: TOP GAMBLE
2.10: TRUCKERS LODGE
2.50: RAMSES DE TEILLEE
3.55: ASK FOR GLORY
As well as 7 thrilling jump races on the card, including the biggest race in Wales, the day will be packed with Welsh themed entertainment for the entire family including singing from Chepstow Musical Youth Theatre, The Bridgend Male Voice Choir, a performance from jazz band The Hipcats in our more relaxed Wye Valley marquee, roaming Welsh lady stilt walkers and more, you may even get to see a dragon!
What's more, there is a great Tom Jones tribute after racing in the lively Bonanza Boy marquee so you can let the traffic die down after racing finishes while enjoying all the classics. The Welsh National Anthem will be sung by international opera stars Wynne Evans and Rebecca Evans ahead of the big race.
CHEPSTOW are still offering discounts for advance bookings. Gates open at 10am, first race is 12.30 and last at 3.55. There are 7 jump races.
Telephone: 01291 622 260 and Fax: 01291 627 061
Address: Chepstow Racecourse, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 BE
There is a shuttle bus running from both Chepstow (£1 each way) and Newport (£5 return) train stations, Gates open at 10am for this meeting. Please visit here for bus time tables
PARKING IS FREE
We look forward to seeing our parties from Pontardawe, Bath and Bristol there. We will post our selections for the day for all the races along with general betting advice on Wednesday 26th December 2018 before 6pm.
Today's Pacafi: click here
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