2018 Coral Welsh Grand National Review

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The 2018 Coral Welsh Grand National took place on a mild winter's day in front of 10,000 spectators on safe but soft chase racing ground and it produced an absolute thriller. We knew beforehand the winner of this 3m5½f race needed to jump well and be heavily laden with stamina. Watch the race HERE


We are desperate to talk about the race but first some necessary housekeeping. Once again we reminded our members of the value of our RACECOURSE TEMPLATES. Of the 5 trainers on our leader-board 3 of them enjoyed a fabulous afternoon! Philip Hobbs did not have a runner at the meeting and Dan Skelton ran just one outsider. BUT - the other 3 trainers landed 5 of the 7 winners at the meeting. Evan Williams (13/2 & 9/2) and Paul Nicholls (7/4 and 4/6) had win doubles and Colin Tizzard landed the big one at 3/1 (much bigger prices were available) for the second time in three years. The top 5 trainers were all showing a profit to level-stakes at Chepstow this season, here was a reminder of the trainers record before racing:

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)


Looking at the race itself we were certain Ramses De Teillee had the profile needed and would run well and we talked about that in some detail here a couple of weeks ago before the gamble on the Colin Tizzard took place! At the time we said: "Tizzard has the current favourite Elegant Escape. 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." We got that last bit wrong but could not have foreseen the gamble. The Exacta paid £36.10 and we know of one member who collected and only just missed out on a huge Tricast as Ron's Dream came fourth.


One of the highlights of our day was meeting and discussing the race beforehand with one of the great trainers of all time Martin Pipe, he won this race five times in six years. I told him there must be a chance, albeit slim, that the Pipe team could have a one-two and I told him of my piece. Martin did not share my enthusiasm and I soon found why. Little did I know jockey Tom Scudamore would set a brutal pace on a high quality horse like Vieux Lion Rouge and one of utter madness. David Orton of the Racing Post called the pace 'suicidal' and that was being kind to the jockey! Had the horse not been supported (12/1) one would have imagined this was just a prep run for Aintree.


The heavily backed ELEGANT ESCAPE landed a second success from three outings since resuming for his second season over fences and emulated his imperious stablemate Native River. In the midst of the madness up front Elegant Escape was well positioned and his jumping under pressure was excellent, particularly for a 6yo and this proved decisive! Winning jockey Tom O’Brien told us afterwards, “I was left in front a bit too soon” but we do not think that was true, he needed a buffer to see off the gallant second.


Ramses De Teillee, another 6yo, had previously made it 3-3 over these fences when winning the trial for this event 19 days earlier and he caught our eye throughout the race but hit the fourth from home very hard. We will never know how much petrol was lost but this must have been a factor regarding the final result! It is true the winner pulled out a little more when the Pipe trained got close to him and was giving him 7lbs (though 4lbs well in) but for the mistake it would have been very close given Ramses De Teillee was only beaten a length. Like the winner, he has time very much on his side and connections understandably feel he's a future Grand National candidate.


Colin Tizzard, who had the second and third in the King George a day earlier, was delighted, saying: “He’s a strong stayer – that’s what he is. He’s a beautiful young horse and progressive. He was in that little pocket just behind the leaders all the way. I thought the front two might have stolen a march a little but stamina kicked in and when ­David Pipe’s had a go at us he found more." In conclusion, it was just about the perfect ride from Tom O'Brien and the difference between winning and losing.


The intention was to leave before the last race to beat the heavy traffic but we had a strong word for Ask For Glory in the finale and we are glad we stayed. The Nicholls trained proved all the rage to make a winning debut for his bang in-form new connections and came home unchallenged. It's not hard to see why he cost 280,000gns after an impressive Irish point success and, granted some normal improvement, the 4yo should defy a penalty with a bit to spare. Assistant trainer Harry Derham said after: "That was expected from Ask For Glory, who had done everything at home very smoothly and very easily - that's not a surprise. He's owned by two very patient men who want him to be a chaser, so whether Cheltenham is on the agenda I don't know. I imagine we'll go quietly. He's a beautiful horse, but a chaser of the future. I suspect he'll be better on good to soft ground."


We would like to thank Chepstow Racecourse for their hospitality and a warm welcome. We love the Welsh Grand National as a race and at this time of the year and hope to be a tiny part of it for years to come.


The Racing Horse has yet to talk about our runner at the meeting and that will happen once we have received our report, but suffice it to say we are not that happy and it has nothing to do with his run, more to come on that soon...


CHEPSTOW has 32 meetings annually, both flat and jump racing, you can be sure there will be a fixture to suit you, your friends and family.

Telephone: 01291 622 260 and Fax: 01291 627 061

Email: info@chepstow-racecourse.co.uk

Address: Chepstow Racecourse, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 BE



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