Friday, January 08, 2021

The rescheduled 2020 Welsh Grand National

Precautionary 8.00am inspections have been called for all three of tomorrow's meetings - at Chepstow, Kempton and Wincanton.

The rescheduled Welsh Grand National (3.10) is the highlight at Chepstow with 18 set to face the starter. 

It's easy to see why the layers have Secret Reprieve clear favourite, although 7/2 about this comparatively inexperienced sort in a race of this nature looks extremely short. 

Writing in the Weekender [06-10.01.21] Evan Williams says:

"I've long thought of him as the ideal sort for a Welsh National and my aim this season was to get him in the race at as near to ten stone as possible. He won the Welsh National trial by an impressive 12 lengths at Chepstow last month...

"I was unsure when it was rescheduled to this weekend if the conditions would remain the same [keeping their old handicap marks] but thankfully they do as he does look to be particularly well in at the weights [runs off 134 but new mark is 142]. I think he has a huge chance of winning the big one..."

In my original preview I decided to take an each-way interest in Secret Reprieve's stablemate Prime Venture and I'm going to stick with that selection. A bit of a quirky individual, he finished fourth last year (Truckers Lodge second, Yala Enki third, The Three Amigos fifth) and turns up this time in better form having broken his duck over fences at Sedgefield in November; the trainer reports that victory has really helped boost the gelding's confidence.

The form of those behind in the trial run over two miles seven and a half furlongs on December 5th is of interest; The Two Amigos chased home Secret Reprieve with Bobo Mac third and Captain Drake fifth.

The Two Amigos likes to race prominently and in last year's renewal was still chasing winner Potters Corner two out before eventually finishing fifth; I just wonder whether connections might try to tweak the tactics a tad this time.

As I indicated in the original preview I'd expect Bobo Mac to improve and the additional 13 days since the trial will help his cause.

Captain Drake wouldn't be the most consistent of individuals but makes some appeal (to me, anyway) of those at bigger prices. Quoting Harry Fry in his Straight from the Stable feature (Weekender 23-27.12.20):

"He was in and out over fences last season, winning at Exeter before finishing runner-up [behind Truckers Lodge] in the Midlands National, but he had a couple of unseats in between.

"I was delighted when he won first time out this season when I ran him back over over hurdles at Uttoxeter. He did not travel or jump well at Cheltenham next time but he ran better at Chepstow...

"Hopefully that will have done his confidence some good as there were definitely signs of improvement. I am still keen to go for the Welsh National as the trip and ground will be fine." 

Vieux Lion Rouge is also eight pounds well in after winning the Becher Chase last time but regular pilot Tom Scudamore prefers Ramses De Teillee who finished second to Elegant Escape in the 2018 renewal. 

Prime Venture is the each-way suggestion, quoted at 12/1 with William Hill this evening who pay five places.

The closest I'm likely to get to Lanzarote in the next 18 months is the Lanzarote Hurdle (3.30 Kempton); if Chepstow were to fail its early morning inspection, I was considering taking a chance on the weather in Surrey. 

I thought The White Mouse had a small squeak in the race and I nearly fell into a trap. Some basic spadework confirmed a gnawing suspicion - I couldn't find a mare that had come home in front in over 30 years. Well cheesed off!


Anonymous said...

Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase [Re-Scheduled]

174,YALA ENKI(FR),14.8
173,BOBO MAC(IRE),1.7
173,BIG RIVER(IRE),0.3

Vieux Lion Rouge [VLR] tops the system WC% output [28.8%] and has, at 181, the second highest system form rating. However the system has concerns over VLR’s ability to cope with the testing ground.

The four runners that do tick most of the system boxes are Ramses De Teillee [RDT], Yala Enki [YE], Prime Venture [PV] and Truckers Lodge [TL].

TL looks a bit short in the market and PV priced about right so I’ll split my stake across YE [16/1] and RDT [20/1] both EW 5 places 1/5 Odds.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Good luck, TW!

Anonymous said...

Smashing performance by Secret Reprieve, never gave his supporters a moments worry.

Good effort by Prime Venture to secure a place return for the blog, well done.


GeeDee said...

Nice place return for you with Yala Enki too, TW.

This evening - do you reckon Nicky Martin may just be asking herself what might have happened if the winner had run off 142 rather than 134?

GeeDee said...

Backed as though defeat was out of the question, 5/2 favourite Secret Reprieve raced as though defeat was out of the question.

Taking up the running from three out, the biggest danger to the winning partnership appeared to be the tack becoming completely undone and falling off. In the event Adam Wedge guided Secret Reprieve past the winning post some three lengths ahead of the two who had made most of the running - The Two Amigos (second at 9/1) and Yala Enki (third at 12/1).

Those at trackside indicated they were surprised by how much the ground had dried out.

Selection Prime Venture (16/1) raced prominently and jumped well in the main but appeared slightly tapped for toe off the home bend. He stuck gamely to his task though and made a place after the last to finish fifth, coming home some two and a quarter lengths behind Captain Drake (28/1) in fourth with Bobo Mac (16/1) sixth.