2019 Welsh Grand National (Part 2 of 3)

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The Racing Horse offers our Racecourse Template for Chepstow in readiness for the 2019 Coral Welsh Grand National which will take place on Friday 27 December. We will there to witness the excitement and produce a review of the day's proceedings. The RACECOURSE TEMPLATE reveals those important/pertinent figures that matter and this must-have tool gives the reader a visual betting landscape of what happens at the Chepstow course.


Including the Welsh Grand National there are three handicap chases, one handicap hurdle, one maiden hurdle, an interesting 3yo juvenile hurdle Grade 1 worth £37,018 to the winner and a National Hunt Flat race.


Hurdle:   57-120 for 48%  (+0.72)   39-117 for 33% (+2.36)
Chase:     8-29  for 28% (-12.13)   42-139 for 30% (-1.43)
NHF:      15-45  for 33% (-11.05)    0-0   for  - 
Total:    80-194 for 41% (-22.46)   81-256 for 32% (+0.93)

TOP TRAINERS at Chepstow for last season
Paul Nicholls: 11 wins from 40 for 28%  (+1.35)
Philip Hobbs:  10 wins from 48 for 21% (+13.50)
Colin Tizzard:  6 wins from 43 for 14%  (-0.12)
Evan Williams:  6 wins from 45 for 13% (+42.87)
David Pipe:     4 wins from 22 for 18%  (-3.50)

TOP TRAINER at Chepstow for last 5 seasons
Paul Nicholls:    34 wins from 152 for 22% (-22.36)
Philip Hobbs:     31 wins from 148 for 21%  (+4.30)
Evan Williams:    28 wins from 199 for 14% (+54.24)
Colin Tizzard:    23 wins from 194 for 12% (-62.90)
N Twiston-Davies: 17 wins from  99 for 17%  (-7.56)

TOP JOCKEYS at Chepstow for last season
Richard Johnson: 10 wins from 46 for 22% (+14.00)
Harry Cobden:     9 wins from 41 for 22%  (+8.44)
Adam Wedge:       5 wins from 42 for 12% (+42.00)
Jonjo O'Neill:    4 wins from 15 for 27%  (+1.06)
S Twiston-Davies: 3 wins from 17 for 18%  (-1.58)

TOP JOCKEY at Chepstow for last 5 seasons
Richard Johnson:    42 wins from 178 for 24% (+36.12)
Sam Twiston-Davies: 21 wins from 113 for 19% (-36.00)
Sean Bowen:         19 wins from 105 for 18% (+29.22)
Tom Scudamore:      19 wins from 111 for 17%  (-0.29)
Harry Cobden:       18 wins from 108 for 12% (-20.69)

Clerk of the Course and the going conditions

Chepstow clerk of the course Libby O'Flaherty is optimistic the track's marquee meeting on Friday, which features the Grade 3 Coral Welsh Grand National, will go ahead without any weather worries. She said on Sunday: "We have missed a lot of the recent heavy rain that has affected some other courses, which is a bit surprising, and the track has coped really well with the jumps meetings this season. We are currently soft, heavy in places and I think that is roughly how we will be come Friday’s meeting, as we have a maximum of 25mm of rain in the forecast this week with it being pretty much dry on Thursday and Friday, which is very encouraging."


We now look at some of the leading players for this year's race...

Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls was the top trainer last season and top jockey was Richard Johnson but this pair have been the top two for the last five seasons and a point that should not be lost. Furthermore, the top 5 or 6 trainers at the course last year have been the top 5 or 6 over the past five seasons and this looks a logical starting point to those thought processes. By the way Nicholls has 34 entries for Boxing Day and 24 more for the Friday, of which 9 are entered for Chepstow. Obviously these are just entries at this stage but can you imagine the work being done at Ditcheat over the next few days? Check this out:


Elegant Escape is the current favourite

The current favourite is Elegant Escape at 4/1 (Betfair & Paddy Power) and Joe Tizzard confirmed the stable's running plans for Chepstow: "Elegant Escape has been in really lovely shape. He ran well in the Ladbrokes Trophy and these conditions, with the rain, should suit him. West Approach only ran last weekend but he's come out of it quite well.

Potters Corner for Christian Williams

Christian Williams hopes Potters Corner (9/1 Bet365 & William Hill), who was due to race off 10st 4lbs before news of Native River's defection, can provide Welsh fans with something to cheer in the principality's biggest races. Williams has been campaigning his stable star over hurdles in order to protect Potters Corner's mark, and could stick with 7lb conditional Jack Tudor in an effort to offset any rise in the weight. The trainer told us: "He'll still be the right side of 11st and since he won the Midlands National his next chase was always going to be the Welsh National. He won well last week and last season when he looked like winning the Eider Chase, it was only three weeks to the Midlands National, when he won impressively. This will be the same turnaround. I'll probably claim and use Jack, though that's not for definite yet. He went up 10lb for winning the Midlands National, so I would think we'll take 7lb off."


ELEGANT ESCAPE is 9lbs higher than when taking this last year but he looked better than ever when placed in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time and is unexposed at marathon trips. He can become the first horse to land back-to-back renewals since Bonanza Boy 30 years ago, perhaps at the main expense of Now McGinty. Paul Nicholls pair Yala Enki and Truckers Lodge are also on the shortlist.

The Racing Horse Verdict

1st: ELEGANT ESCAPE 7/2 (6th)  2nd: Potters Corner 8/1 (WINNER)  3rd: Pobbles Bay 25/1 (8th)  4th: Truckers Lodge 10/1 (2nd) 

Elegant Escape won this last year having placed in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury a few weeks earlier. He’s following an identical route but has 9lbs more to carry, though his trainer is bidding for a third victory in four years. He will certainly benefit from return to 3½m+ and acts on heavy going, tried in cheekpieces and seems sure to make another bold bid.


  Today's Pacafi: click here

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