The Welsh Grand National has always been a big highlight over the festive period. With 3m 5 ½f to cover at Chepstow racecourse then stamina is a ‘must-have’ requirement when it comes to finding the winner, while if you like your trends you might want to know that 16 of the 18 winners have been aged 9 or younger, while 14 of the last 18 winners carried 11-0 or less.
2019 – POTTERS CORNER (8/1)
2018 – ELEGANT ESCAPE (3/1 fav)
2017 – RAZ DE MAREE (16/1)
2016 – NATIVE RIVER (11/4 fav)
2015 – MOUNTAINOUS (9/1)
2014 – EMPEROR’S CHOICE (9/1)
2013 – MOUNTAINOUS (20/1)
2012 – MONBEG DUDE (10/1)
2011 – LE BEAU BAI (10/1)
2010 – SYNCHRONISED (5/1)
2009 – DREAM ALLIANCE (20/1)
2008 – NOTRE PERE (16/1)
2007 – MIKO de BEAUCHENE(13/2)
2006 – HALCON GENELARDAIS (7/1)
2005 – L’AVENTURE (14/1)
2004 – SILVER BIRCH (10/3 fav)
2003 – BINDAREE (10/1)
2002 – MINI SENSATION (8/1)
18/18 – Had won between 1-5 chase races before
18/18 – Raced within the last 7 weeks
18/18 – Had won over at least 3m before (fences)
16/18 – Aged 9 or younger
16/18 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
14/18 – Carried 11-0 or less in weight
13/18 – Aged 8 or younger
12/18 – Carried 10-8 or less in weight
12/18 – Had won just 2 or 3 times before over fences
12/18 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Irish bred
9/18 – Had won over fences at Chepstow before
7/18 – Unplaced favourites
7/18 – Won last time out
6/18 – French bred
6/18 – Had run in the Welsh National before
5/18 – Ran at Chepstow last time out
3/18 – Winning favourites
2/18 – Trained by Colin Tizzard
2/18 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
2/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
The average winning SP in the last 18 years is 10/1
The period between Christmas Day and New Year is always a bit of a strange one with people feeling a mixture of the Xmas Blues and excitement for the New Year.
However, to cheer racing fans up during that odd Festive week we can look forward to the Welsh Grand National, which is being staged this year on Sunday 27th December.
Run over 3m6f at Chepstow racecourse, this is the first of the main National races of the season, with the Irish, Scottish and Aintree versions to follow.
Being a National, then, it goes without saying, horses with proven stamina have dominated this race over the years and with the ground conditions often very testing come the day, then staying power is even more important.
In 2019, we saw the locally-trained Potters Corner win the race for the Christian Williams yard, under jockey Jack Tudor and if lining-up again in 2020 will be hoping to become the first horse since Bonanza Boy to win ‘back-to-back’ Welsh Grand Nationals – although it’s worth mentioning that the Richard Lee-trained Mountainous did win the race in 2013 and 2015.
In more recent years, we have also seen the more classier staying types try their luck at the race – albeit with a lot of weight. But they’ve done well with former Gold Cup winner – Native River (2016) and the Colin Tizzard-trained Elegant Escape (2018) two recent examples of this.
There are plenty of other key Welsh Grand National trends to look for.
Age – With a 6 year-old and a 13 year-old winning the Welsh National in the last three years then you can’t really rule out any age. However, with only two winners aged in double-figures since 1994 then those aged 9 or younger have by far the best records. If you want to take this age trend a bit further, then it could pay to note that 13 of the last 18 winners were aged 8 or younger (72%).
Recent Run – It’s better for horses to head here off the back of at least one recent run – this is backed up with ALL of the last 18 winners running in the last seven weeks, while ALL of the last 18 winners had also won between 1 and 5 times over fences in the past.
Current Form – So we know having a recent run is key, but also having a ‘good’ recent run is something to look for. 16 of the last 18 (89%) Welsh National winners were placed in the top four in their most recent race.
Weight – I’ve already touched on the weight carried in this staying handicap but the key trends to note in this area are that 14 of the last 18 winners carried 11st or less, while 12 of the last 18 winners won with just 10st 8lbs or less on their backs. But do take this trend with a pinch of salt – as already mentioned there have been a lot more high-rated horses targeting this prize in recent years and since 2008 we’ve seen four winners carry 11st or more.
Track Experience – Having run at Chepstow in the past is something to look for, but also having won over fences at the Welsh track is another good pointer to have onside. 50% of the last 18 winners had won a chase race at Chepstow in the past – This should hopefully put a line through several of the runners.
Favourites – Considering we normally get a field of 20+ runners for this race then it’s often a bookmaker’s dream. This is supported with only three winning favourites in the last 18 runnings – but two of those came in the last four years – while we’ve seen 7 of the last 18 market leaders unplaced. However, it’s not always a licence to print money for the layers as 12 of the last 18 winners (67%) returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting – suggesting that those in the top 3-5 in the betting should be taken seriously.
Trainer Trends – Being that it’s normally such an open and competitive race, there isn’t really a standout trainer trend. Yes, the Colin Tizzard camp have the best recent record with wins in 2016 and 2018, so anything they run should be respected. Paul Nicholls has two Welsh Nationals under his belt – but the last of those came in 2005. Nigel Twiston-Davies is another popular yard that’s grabbed two wins in the race, but these also came some time ago in 1997 and 2003 with the well-known Earth Summit and Bindaree – who, of course, both also won the Aintree National during their careers. Venetia Williams, Kerry Lee, Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King, Michael Scudamore and Philip Hobbs are other stables that have won the race since 2006.
Overall, we can expect another tricky minefield of a race to try and solve. But hopefully these key trends will help narrow down the runners. But if you want to put most things in your favour then certainly look out for horses aged 9 or younger, with 11st or less in weight, that have won at Chepstow in the past over fences and come here off the back of a top four finish………easy peasy!!
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