It's time for the Coral Welsh National to round off Christmas as we sit back, relax and enjoy what should be a very festive period of racing. From the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, we move to Chepstow for the Welsh National on December 27th. What started with 61 entries has now been whittled down to 48 who still remain in contention.
The Coral Welsh National is a handicap chase run over a distance of 3m5f and is generally a hard slog around a muddy track. With 22 fences to jump this is a real test of stamina for the runners which is why the lower weighted horses tend to do better. That said, stablemates Elegant Escape (2018 winner) and Native River (2016 winner) both won it carrying near top weight.
That could also come down to their caliber as it's not often Welsh Grand National winners go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Both are back again with Native River the top weight on 11-12. Seven pounds slighter but in second place in the weights is Elegant Escape. Both are trained by Colin Tizzard.
Ballyoptic, Lake View Lad, Yala Enki, and Crievehill round off the heaviest horses going into the race. After that, the rest of the potential runners are weight at 10-12 or less.
At the first scratching stage, 13 runners were withdrawn and they were:
- Blow By Blow
- Bobo Mac
- Burtons Well
- Captain Cattistock
- Cloudy Morning
- Kilfilum Cross
- Mala Beach
- Mister Malarky
- Raz De Maree
- Wild West Wind
Welsh Grand National 2019 Odds
In terms of odds, it's no surprise that Elegant Escape holds court at the top of the list. At odds of 5/1 he doesn't offer much value but it's hard to write him off. However, he has already been beaten by Ballyoptic this season so could it happen again? At odds of 25/1 Ballyoptic could be a dark horse.
Truckers Lodge from Paul Nicholls is also a firm favorite at odds of 15/2. However, the Welsh National is generally run in heavy conditions and Truckers Lodge doesn't have much experience over this type of ground. He did run at Chepstow twice last season in both heavy and soft going but over hurdles and in races nearly a mile shorter than the Welsh National. Chepstow is clearly a course he does well at so maybe that, and the low weight he has been allocated will get him over the finish line.
The rest of the potential field are all in the double figures so there is still a lot of value to be had at Betfair. But with 10 days left until the race and a maximum field of only 20 runners, they are not all guaranteed to get a run. It may be wise to hold off until the card has been finalised before pinning your hopes on any of them.
Coral Welsh National Tips
Personally I look the look of Potters Corner from trainer Christian Williams. He's quite capable of running long distances and often on heavy or soft going. He has previously won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter and won last time out at Chepstow. And he did carrying a stone more in weight than he will in the National.
At 10/1 he's a decent bet that still has value if you go each-way.
Lake View Lad could also run a good race although he will be carrying a hefty 11-01 around the course. His form is always consistent which means he has finished in the top 3 in 11 from his 14 chase starts. He ran in the Aintree Grand National last season but was pulled up by jockey Henry Brooke.
He hasn't run at Chepstow before but he does great on heavy ground so this could be perfect for him. At odds of 25/1 he could be worth a small each-way bet.
Elegant Escape and Native River are very hard to pass up. They are such supremely talented horses that even suggesting they won't run well is sacrilege. At 14/1 Native River offers more value but Elegant Escape will be tough to beat.