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Coral Welsh Grand National stats guide

The Coral Welsh Grand National takes centre stage at Chepstow on Saturday, December 27th, and the stats suggest the David Pipe trained Amigo could be a lively outsider in the big betting race.

Here’s my guide to the leading trends for the stamina sapping test at the Welsh venue:

Age:
The last 10 winners have been aged between six and eight, and older horses tend to struggle.
Indeed, Riverside Boy (1993) is the only double-aged winner 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.

Class and recent form:
Recent course form has been a big positive, with 14 of the last 23 winners having run at the track earlier in the same season.
Five of the last 10 winners had also been successful on their most recent appearance, so in-form horses are well worth considering.
From a negative viewpoint, horses that have run well in the Hennessy do not have a good record. That is presumably because the races comes so close and don’t allow time for competitors to recover. That is not good news for supporters of 2013 winner Monbeg Dude who finished a fine fourth in this year’s Hennessy.

Favourites:
The contest used to be a strong favourites’ race with the market leader scoring six times between 1988 and 1994. –
However, that trend has changed and only one of the last 17 favourites – Silver Birch in 2004 – has managed to justify strong market support.
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.

Top trainers:
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 35 contenders.
Richard Lee has won two of the last three runnings courtesy of Le Beau Bai (2011) and Mountainous 12 months ago, and the latter is coming back for more.
Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls has also done well, saddling two winners in the last 10 renewals and a 1-2-3 in 2005. The champion trainer also saddle the runner-up and third home in last year’s contest.
One big negative is that no northern raider has scored since the Monica Dickinson trained Righthand Man romped to victory in 1984, despite several being well-backed to do so.

Weight:
Thirteen of the last 15 winners have all carried 10st 9lb or less, and the last three have all carried no more than 10st 1lb.
However, class horses have performed consistently well, with Halcon Generlardais winning in 2005 and subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner lanfding the spoils in 2010, so backers of ante post favourite Shotgun Paddy can take heart.

Conclusion: Shotgun Paddy and former winner Monbeg Dude are the class acts, but David Pipe’s Amigo ticks plenty of boxes having run well at the track earlier in the month and is an interesting contender of a feather-weight for a yard that love to plunder the big handicaps.