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2016 Coral Welsh Grand National stats guide

David Metcalf | 27 December 2016

Onenightinvienna has perfect profile for Coral Welsh Grand National

The Coral Welsh Grand National takes centre stage at Chepstow on Tuesday, December 27th and the stats suggest that the Philip Hobbs trained Onenightinvienna is a major contender to capture the valuable prize.

Here’s our horse racing expert’s guide to the leading trends for the prestigious stamina sapping 3m 5f contest at the Welsh venue.

Age

Native River currently tops the Coral Welsh Grand National ante post market.

Native River currently tops the Coral Welsh Grand National ante post market.

Twelve of the last 15 winners have been aged between six and eight, and older horses tend to struggle. Riverside Boy (1993) and Mountainous, who won the race for a second time in 2015 at the age of 11 having previously scored in 2013, are the only double-aged winners of the race since Rag Trade scored in 1976 so it clearly pays to stick with the younger brigade in what is a gruelling staying contest usually run in very testing conditions.

Another Hero, Arpege D’Alene, Native River and Onenightinvienna are among leading fancies that get a tick in this category.

Class and recent form

Recent course form has been a big positive, with 15 of the last 25 winners having run at the track earlier in the same season.

Five of the last 12 winners had also been successful on their most recent appearance, so in-form horses are well worth considering.

Favourites

The contest used to be a strong race for favourites, with the market leader scoring six times between 1988 and 1994.

In recent times things have changed and only one of the last 19 favourites has managed to justify strong market support. That honour falls to the Gordon Elliott trained Silver Birch in 2004.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that Halcon Genelardais (2006) and Synchronised (2010) were long-time ante-post favourites only to be replaced as market leader on the morning of the race before going on to glory. Mountainous was also heavily backed into 9/1 second favourite when landing the spoils 12 months ago.

Native River heads the ante post betting but is set to shoulder top weight of 11st 12lb.

Top trainers

Jonjo O'Neil has won this race twice in the last 13 years.

Jonjo O’Neil has won this race twice in the last 13 years.

Jonjo O’Neill is renowned for doing well with his staying chasers and has won the race twice in the last 13 years, courtesy of Mini Sensation (2002) and Synchronised (2010). Both horses carried the famous gold and green hooped colours of owner JP McManus, and he has Another hero and Shutthefrontdoor among this year’s entries. The former looks potentially very well handicapped but will need a whole host of horses to come out if he is to make the starting line-up.

The Pipe team won the race five times in six seasons between 1988 and 1993, but have had just two placed runners from their last 36 contenders. Katkeau looks the main contender this time round.

Richard Lee has won two of the last four runnings courtesy of Le Beau Bai (2011) and Mountainous (2013), but has since retired and handed over the reins to daughter Kerry. She continued the family’s excellent record in the race when saddling Mountainous to victory in 2015 and has another very interesting contender for this year’s renewal in the shape of Bishops Road.

Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls has also done well, saddling two winners in the last 12 renewals and a 1-2-3 in 2005. The British champion trainer also saddled the runner-up and third home in 2013 and Benvolio to finish a short-head second in 2014. He has a fascinating contender in Arpege D’Alene.

Philip Hobbs, who won the race in 2013 with Dream Alliance, also does well with his staying chasers and is set to be represented by Onenightinvienna who scored in good style on seasonal reappearance, handles testing conditions, stays forever, and appears to have been laid out for the race.

One big negative is that no northern raider has scored since the Monica Dickinson trained Righthand Man in 1984, despite several being well-backed to do so.

Weight

Native River's trainer Colin Tizzard has been in fine form this season.

Native River’s trainer Colin Tizzard has been in fine form this season.

Thirteen of the last 15 winners have all carried 11st or less, and that is a telling statistic against the ante post favourite and top weight for this year’s contest Native River.

However, class horses have performed consistently well, with Halcon Generlardais winning in 2005 and subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised landing the spoils in 2010, so backers of Hennesssy Gold Cup winner Native River can take heart and his trainer Colin Tizzard has been in fine form and plundering big prizes left, right and centre this season.

Leading ante post fancies Arpege D’Alene and Onenightinvienna are both set to carry less than 11st and are out and out stayers who have been in good form this season.

Conclusion

Arpege D’Alene and Onenightinvienna look to have the perfect profile for the race and seem sure to go well in what promises to be a cracking renewal of the Coral Welsh Grand National. Slight preference is for the more experienced latter.

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