The Welsh Grand National (December 27) is one of the highlights of National Hunt Racing’s Christmas Period, and many horses who have been successful here over the demanding 3 miles 5½ furlongs and 22 fences have also enjoyed success in either the Grand National or the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Horses who have completed the Welsh Grand National and Grand National double include Rag Trade, Corbiere and Earth Summit. Meanwhile, horses such as Burrough Hill Lad, Master Oats, Cool Ground and Synchronised have won the Welsh Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Winners have been rated 155, 132, 131, 137, 128, 131, 150, 142, 152, 135
Five winners have been aged 8, three aged 7, one aged 6, and one aged 11
8 of the 10 winners have carried 11-0 or less, the other two later finished first and third in different renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup
SP’s have ranged from 11/4 to 20/1
Richard and Kerry Lee (Kerry having taken over her father’s license) have trained 3 of the last 6 winners
Beware The Bear
Stayed on powerfully in soft ground to win off a mark of 145 over 3 miles last time in the style of a horse that should appreciate this longer trip. Will probably have to win off a mark similar to the one Synchronised won off though, and he’s not suggested he’s as classy as that former winner so far. Connections may also be thinking of the Grand National for him.
Rock The Kasbah
Won off a mark of 142 on his seasonal debut over 3 miles at Chepstow, and now has course form reading 2/2/1/1/1. The way he stayed on that day, after looking out-paced in the early stages, suggests this test could suit, and trainer Phillip Hobbs won the race with a similar type in 2009.
Chase The Spud
Won his last two starts off marks of 130 and 139, and has already proved his stamina by winning a Midlands Grand National. Handles soft and heavy ground, though he has been beaten on both previous visits to the track off lower-marks.
Yet to prove his stamina for a test like this, but was still very much in contention when falling in the Midlands National won by Chase The Spud. Ran well to be second in the Badger Ales Chase last time, and handles soft ground well.
Ask The Weatherman
Young trainer Jack Barber has already suggested this race could be Ask The Weatherman’s main target for the season, and there was much to like about the way he won off top-weight at Exeter when last seen. Looks just the type to get in with a nice low-weight, and should relish the soft ground stamina test that a typical Welsh National provides.
Closely related to Carruthers and Coneygree, and this is a race I’ve always had in mind for Flintham. Entered in the Welsh National Trial on Saturday and, though he usually comes on a bundle for his seasonal debut, his price could shorten if he runs well.
Unless some of the higher-weighted horses are good enough to go and be competitive in Graded Races, this is usually won by a horse rated somewhere between the low 130’s and the low 140s. Rock The Kasbah’s course form makes him of interest, however he’s may just be a little too high in the weights. Therefore, I’m happy to back both Ask The Weatherman and Flintham each-way, as I think this will be an ideal test for both of them if the ground rides testing on the big day.
2017 Welsh Grand National Tips
Ask The Weatherman : each-way @ 16/1 Bet365, Unibet (4 places)
Flintham : each-way @ 25/1 Bet365, BetVictor (4 places)