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2.50 Chepstow – Coral Welsh Grand National – Wednesday 27th December

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2.50 Chepstow – Coral Welsh Grand National – Wednesday 27th December Empty 2.50 Chepstow – Coral Welsh Grand National – Wednesday 27th December

Post by beakers2 on Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:14 pm

There are several strong trends that should initially be taken into account before coming to a conclusion. The first of these centres around stamina, a vital ingredient for all Welsh National winners. The three miles, five and a half furlongs contest is often run on testing ground and it is a real stamina-sapping test for the horses. Therefore it is no surprise to learn that all of the last ten winners had won over 3m or further prior to coming here. Quite unusually, all of the twenty runners in this year’s field have that to their name so that is one less factor to be worried about.

In the last paragraph, I alluded as to how difficult a test this was and down the years fresher horses have dealt with conditions best. To quantify that idea, we can see that eight of the last ten winners of the race had run no more than twice during the current season. Only two horses miss the cut on this basis, Raz De Maree and Splash Of Ginge so it may be best to steer clear of this duo.

Another important factor is age and with nine of the last ten winners having been aged between six and eight, it is best to steer clear of runners outside of this bracket. There are ten horses within the desired group in this year’s field, the four seven-year-olds Rock The Kasbah, Beware The Bear, Pobbles Bay and Vintage Clouds, and the eight-year-olds Vicente, Silsol, Final Nudge, Wild West Wind, Ask The Weatherman and Buckhorn Timothy.

Recent form can often give an indication of the fitness of a horse and on the whole you need to be looking for an in-form animal here. All but two of the last ten winners had finished in the first four on their most recent visit to the racecourse so this is not a race in which you should be hoping for a horse bouncing back. Only five of the field miss out on that basis, namely Silsol, Pobbles Bay, Houblon Des Obeaux, Splash of Ginge and O’Faolains Boy.

In terms of weight, the limit appears to be 11st as only two horses have carried more than that to victory in the last decade. When applying that to this year’s field that eliminates the top thirteen as they appear on the racecard, with the exception of Raz De Maree and Splash Of Ginge whose jockeys’ claim takes them below the 11st mark.

Given the undulations that runners have to encounter when racing at Chepstow, it will hardly come as a shock that horses with course form have done well over the years. In fact six of the last ten winners had recorded a course success prior to winning here. Looking at the line-up for tomorrow, there are only four previous Chepstow winners, namely Rock The Kasbah, Pobbles Bay, Wild West Wind and O’Faolains Boy.

The final factor to take into consideration is the betting and it is fair to say that this is a race in which we should be taking on the market leaders. Native River was the first winning favourite since the 2004 winner Silver Birch twelve months ago but even so, with the half of the last ten winners having returned at double figure SPs it is worth looking for one at a price.



Wild West Wind – 6/7

Ask The Weatherman – 6/7

Buckhorn Timothy – 6/7


With all twenty runners missing at least one of our trends, there isn’t a standout but the one who looks to have most going for him is ROCK THE KASBAH. Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old enhanced his already excellent record at Chepstow with a two-length victory here in October and a 7lb rise for that seems fair enough. The way he ran in the bet365 Gold Cup back in April suggests he should be suited by this extreme stamina test and although he has a big weight to shoulder, he looks to have a leading chance.

Just missing out on the top spot is Wild West Wind who won the Welsh Grand National Trial at Chepstow at the beginning of the month. That was the eight-year-old’s first start since February so he was entitled to get tired in the closing stages but it will be interesting to see whether this race comes too soon for him.
Jack Barber’s Ask The Weatherman also makes the shortlist having made a successful return to rules action when winning at Exeter in November. The prolific point-to-point winner should have no concerns in terms of stamina but a 6lb rise for his latest success is likely to make life tougher for him.

The shortlist is completed by Buckhorn Timothy who has done well since being switched back to hurdles, winning both of his starts this term. He may be yet to win at Chepstow but he was a close second to Potters Cross here in October 2016 and having snuck in towards the foot of the weights, he could outrun his sizeable odds.


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