When the rain started to pour over Chepstow, few trainers were delighted at the prospect of a heavy going except, that is, Richard Lee, who's horse Le Beau Bai absolutely loves it sodden and soft and that's why he romped up the odds table and went off as second favourite for the 2011 Coral Welsh Grand National.
As far as the bookies were concerned it was going to be a two horse races between himself and Gile Cross and they didn't disappoint. With 20 horses lining up, there were really only a handfull who would be able to cope with the Chepstow conditions and Le Beau Bai and Giles Cross led from the outset. They had company for most of the race with Our Island and Viking Blond holding their own and the pack, for at least 50% of the race kept together and jumped cleanly.
But with 8 fences to go, Gilles Cross took off with only Le Beau Bai able to keep up and in fact it looked like it would be Cross that would take it but with two fences left Le Beau Bai, with Charlie Poste on board, dug deep and made up the few years that still stood between him and Giles Cross and once over the last Le Beau Bai took off and crossed the finishing post to give the Richard Lee yard a terrific and memorable win.
Le Beau Bai had previously finished third in the same race back in 2009 and rumour has it that they simply forgot to enter last year so I think the win has definitely made up for that little error.
Twitter was a wash with good wishes for both jockey and trainer and Richard Lee himself has said “A great couple of days – so thrilled to win the Welsh National”, “Le Beau Bai in great form today – very pleased with himself and Vic G is out in the field teaching some of the youngsters a thing or two” and in a hat tip to Jonjo O'Neill said “Also, quite pleased Synchronised went to Ireland. Good decision from the JP team!!”
Le Beau Bai is now 40/1 in the ante post odds for the 2012 John Smiths Grand National in April 2012.