On Sunday 27th December, Chepstow racecourse will once again play host to the Welsh Grand National. Sadly, the highlight of Wales’ horse racing calendar will be held behind closed doors, with punters unable to revel in the atmosphere that typically surrounds the Grade 3 race.
The trial for the Grand National has already taken place – Secret Reprieve, the clear victor on the day, winning by a margin of 12 lengths over The Two Amigos. Of course, the Evan Williams-trained gelding is the leading favourite in the latest horse racing betting odds. But who else is tipped for success? Read on as we go through the market.
You can’t look beyond the winner of the trial, that took place earlier this month. Secret Reprieve will look to emulate the success of last year’s winner Potters Corner, who became the first Welsh-trained horse in 54 years to win the National. The six-year-old has a 100% record at Chepstow, having won the Novices’ Hurdle back in 2018, and following his dominant win in his last outing, Secret Reprieve looks a dead cert.
Paul Nicholls’ best chance of success is with Yala Enki. The 10-year-old ran a career best at Cheltenham last month, where he lost by a shoulder, behind Ramses De Teillee. But in the Becher at Aintree earlier this month, the gelding fell at the first fence. Last year, Yala Enki was an 8/1 shout, finishing third, but returned with a win in his following outing. This year, it looks as though he’ll hold the top weight.
Anthony Honeyball’s five-time winner kick-started his season at Carlisle last month, returning after a lengthy break, largely down to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent cancellation of the Grand National. At Carlisle, he placed in the Intermediate Chase, a listed race, but should fancy the softer surface at Chepstow. The eight-year-old previously won in similar conditions – the Novices’ Chase at Haydock in January. It will be a Chepstow debut for Sam Brown, but with four starts over fences under his belt, there’s plenty of chance of progression.
Last season saw great success for Springfield Fox, with back-to-back wins over the fences – the first of which was in Chepstow’s Novices’ Handicap Chase. Trainer Tom George will be hoping for more of the same this season, beginning with the Welsh National. He was beaten last time out, but looks able to compete in the toughest contests. You can guarantee that success in the National will propel Springfield Fox’s name in the hat for the Aintree centrepiece of the same name, next April.
Another entry from Nicholls’ yard, Truckers Lodge was last year’s runner up, also coming second in this year’s trial. With three wins and two placings from six starts at Chepstow, the eight-year-old is somewhat of a course specialist, and that should stand him in good stead on December 27th. Despite unseating his rider on his last outing at Kelso, Truckers Lodge is expected to be amongst the top weights, and should be better equipped than this time last year, to win the National.