Welsh Grand National tips – Big-race preview of Saturday’s Chepstow highlight
Welsh Grand National preview
We take a look at some of the contenders for Saturday’s feature race at Chepstow and pick out our Welsh Grand National tips to land the day’s main event.
Cancelled from the Christmas period due to a waterlogged track, Chepstow will hopefully stage the rearranged Welsh Grand National this Saturday and a typically competitive renewal is in store for punters assuming the fixture gets the go-ahead to race.
A classy field of 18 runners will go to post for the £85,000-plus first prize over an extended 3m 6f trip in what will be gruelling heavy ground so only the strongest will prevail in the stamina-sapping conditions.
We’ve looked at some of the notable runners that will go to post in the Saturday feature at the Welsh venue and pick out our Welsh Grand National tips.
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL TIPS – CHEPSTOW BIG-RACE PREVIEW FOR SATURDAY’S FEATURE
Paul Nicholls plays a strong hand
Yala Enki is sure to be a popular choice given the Nickname gelding will again be partnered by Bryony Frost and the consistent sort looks sure to be involved if none the worse for his fall in the Becher Chase.
Now with Paul Nicholls following a switch from Venetia Williams, he has finished in the frame in the last two renewals of this prize, most recently finishing third to Potters Corner twelve months ago after which he won the Portman Cup at Taunton.
He ran well in defeat behind Ramses De Teillee on his return at Cheltenham in November but was a first-fence casualty at Aintree when last seen. If that hasn’t dented confidence then he could run a big race with conditions ideal.
Nicholls also saddles last season’s runner-up in Truckers Lodge who had won here the time before and he followed up his near miss by winning the Midlands National in ready fashion, scoring by almost twenty lengths.
The Westerner gelding is still unexposed over fences having had just six runs but comes here having unseated at Kelso on his reappearance and he has a much higher mark to try to overcome as he bids to get back on track and go one better in this contest.
He’s guaranteed to stay however and revels in the mud so assuming he’s none the worse for his mishap last time he could go well although he may just be anchored by his big weight.
Tizzard yard bids for more big race success
Christmas In April is another guaranteed stayer having won the Sussex National last campaign where he won three times in all, including also the Devon National in heavy ground over this trip and while pulled up in the Midlands National the run might have come too soon for Colin Tizzard’s charge.
Not disgraced on his return behind Cloudy Glen in the Southern National in November the Crillon gelding is likely to strip fitter now and he’s been eased 1lb so has a relative feather weight to carry in the conditions which could be a bonus.
The form of the yard remains a concern however, 0-13 with runners this past fortnight although have landed this prize twice in the last five years.
Williams runner could be a handicap blot
Secret Reprieve comes into this contest on the back of an impressive first victory over fences at this venue in December, beating The Two Amigos by twelve lengths in heavy conditions.
Evan Williams’ charge is a lightly-raced and unexposed sort but he was well-beaten by Truckers Lodge over hurdles and he came off second-best behind Cloudy Glen at Haydock last December.
Also a faller on his return at Haydock in November although still very much in contention he turns out here under a meagre 4lbs penalty for his breakthrough win which leaves him very well-treated given he’s due to go up 8lbs in future and with the potential for better still to come he looks sets for a big performance.
Prime Venture also represents the Williams team and the Primary gelding finished fourth in this race twelve months ago from just 4lbs lower in the weights; he fell next time in the Peter Marsh Chase and that had possibly left a mark given he was beaten at odds-on at Exeter prior to pulling up behind Truckers Lodge in the Midlands National.
He finally managed to get off the mark over fences when running out a wide margin winner of a Sedgefield novices’ handicap chase where he beat Jack Devine by 16 lengths and he is another solid contender here if able to back up that performance.
Cloudy Glen isn’t the most consistent and is perhaps best when fresh as he demonstrated when returning from a break to score at Fontwell in the Southern National; but he failed to back up that run next time in a Sandown veterans’ contest where he was beaten almost 16 lengths by Doing Fine.
The Cloudings gelding isn’t sure to replicate the form he had shown at Fontwell and he’s unproven over this sort of distance although he didn’t appear to be at the end of his tether when scoring his win on his penultimate outing. He’s nevertheless risky given his inconsistency.
Pipe team boasts strong credentials
David Pipe saddles two in the race with Ramses De Teillee joined in the line-up by Vieux Lion Rouge who runs under a 4lbs penalty but looks well-treated nonetheless given he’s due to go up in the weights.
The Sabiango gelding perhaps saves his best for Aintree however and he was winning the Becher Chase for the second time when successful there in December. He’s also won here, taking a veterans’ chase over this course last October but that was his first win over regulation fences for two years.
Ramses De Teillee meanwhile has a decent strike-rate over fences and finished runner-up in this contest in 2018 when chasing home Elegant Escape prior to going close again in the Haydock Grand National Trial.
Wind Surgery ahead of 2020 saw him win twice over hurdles which included a Grade Two success and he contested the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival where he was well-beaten. He got back to winning ways however returned to chasing at Cheltenham in November, beating Yala Enki by a short-head and ran creditably for seventh in the Becher Chase given he made two bad blunders.
A return to regulation fences will suit and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him bouncing back with a better effort.
The Two Amigos has proven himself a consistent stayer, but he hasn’t struck paydirt since scoring in the 2019 Sussex National and he’s largely been found out from this sort of mark although he continues to run well in defeat.
He was no match for Secret Reprieve here in December, beaten twelve lengths; but he was giving that rival 12lbs and he’s 4lbs better off now. He finished fifth in this contest twelve months ago from his current 142 rating but has work to do to better than position and overturn recent form with Evan Williams’ charge.
Springfield Fox has had just three starts over fences and it remains to be seen whether Tom George’s charge has the experience for a test such as this.
He did win two of those three starts however last term, scoring at this venue and Exeter in heavy ground prior to unseating at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase.
Having had a fair warm-up back over hurdles here in December he should strip a lot fitter returning to chasing and there’s likely better to come although this is certainly a tough return and the Sagamix gelding might just lack the experience of a few of these stepping out of novice company.
Welsh Grand National tips
A chance however is taken on LORD DU MESNIL bouncing back to winning form and this sort of test could prove to be right up the street of Richard Hobson’s charge.
The Saint Des Saints gelding proved himself a progressive staying chaser last term, winning three times which included a wide-margin victory in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock to add to an earlier Sedgefield success; he then took the Last Fling Chase back at the Merseyside track with all three victories coming in heavy conditions.
He continued his upward curve, finishing runner-up in the Grand National Trial and National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and he can be forgiven both runs this term.
Fourth over hurdles on his reappearance it was possibly too sharp a test and he might not have taken well to the Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree when last seen; but faced with a more extreme test of stamina back over conventional obstacles then he could leave past performances behind and he could still have some scope from this mark with conditions very much suitable.