Welsh National Hangs In The Balance

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The awful weather that is currently battering the UK has done more than just make us miserable. It has already been responsible for the postponement of the Coral Welsh national which was originally due to take place on December 27th 2015.

When moved to this coming Saturday, January 9th 2016, it was anticipated that the rain and winds would have eased up but as that isn't looking likely, bookmakers are now taking bets that the Welsh National will once again be put on hold with Betfair offering odds of 1/2 that it will and odds of 6/4 that it won't.

Given the upcoming forecast, the management at Chepstow racecourse are currently in talks with the BHA and Channel 4 in the hopes that they can move the showpiece to an earlier slot on the card to give the race the best chance of going ahead.

The track was raceable yesterday but was hit by 16mm of rain overnight but despite this clerk of the course, Keith Ottesen, reported the course to have taken the latest wave well.

“The forecast is for dry weather later today with a couple of showers but the worry remains that rain is forecast for most of Saturday,” he said.

Having had a quick look on BBC Weather, it looks like he may be slightly optimistic with more rain forecast tomorrow with even heavier spells expected on Friday night through to Saturday morning.

With that stronger band of rain on its way the timing could be crucial to prospects. Current race favourite is tied between three potential runners – Cogry, Mountainous and Upswing, all of whom are at odds of 7/1 with Betfair.

Statistically there are a few trends that have emerged over the years which suggest that there are a few others more likely to be in the mix. Still available at 20/1 is Woodford County from Philip Hobbs and that certainly looks like a decent each-way betting prospect.

Age has provide to be a determining factor with the last 10 winners all falling within the 6-8 range. Of course, the thing to bare in mind this time around is that as of January 1st, every horse's age went up a year. That means a horse that is now officially 9 years old, would have been 8 years old if the race had been run on it's originally scheduled date back in December. For that reason, I ruled out potential contenders outside of the 7-9 age range.

I then looked through the winning weights and with seven of the last ten weighing less than 10-10, I reduced the prospective field even further.

All 10 of the last winners had run in the last 55 days, nine of them had placed on their last run prior to the Welsh National, and all ten of them had won at 3m or more.

Taking all of those stats into consideration and along with the weather which will undoubtedly ensure the going is ‘Heavy', I whittled down the prospects and picked my top four.

Welsh Grand National Tips

  • Red Devil Lads
  • Folsom Blue
  • Firebird Flyer
  • Woodford County

Of course, those tips are only useful if the race actually goes ahead as planned. If the race does not take place on Saturday there are no plans to rearrange it again, and it will be lost for the first time since 1996, when it succumbed to frost for a second successive year.

Picture by: David Davies / PA Archive/PA Images

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