Who are the main players in Saturday’s Coral Welsh National?
Nick Murphy | 5 January 2018
Mysteree is the early favourite
The rescheduled Coral Welsh Grand National takes place at Chepstow on Saturday.
A field of 20 runners will go to post over 3m5½f looking to emulate last year’s winner Native River.
Mysteree is the favourite for the 2018 renewal, ahead of Wild West Wind and the highly-fancied Beware the Bear.
The Coral News Team have run the rule over some of the main contenders ahead of the race.
Mysteree is the current favourite for the renewal. Michael Scudamore’s charge will be making his seasonal bow around Chepstow. That should be no cause for concern, though, after he won on heavy ground at Haydock on his first run of last year.
He’s won over 4m before and that could be crucial on what will be extremely testing ground in Wales. The 10-year-old has the staying power to last the trip and is a deserved favourite.
Wild West Wind
Tom George’s star has won on three of his four starts over fences. However, this will be a new test for the son of Westerner. This will be his first time over the distance, although previous victories on heavy ground over a shorter trip would suggest that he has the stamina to take on the slog.
He left his rivals eating dust in the Grand National Trial early last month. But this will be a different test altogether for the nine-year-old.
Beware the Bear
Beware the Bear is well-fancied in some quarters for the in-form Nicky Henderson. The trainer has a 36% strike rate over the past fortnight and has landed top prizes with Might Bite, Vyta Du Roc and Buveur D’Air.
Like many runners, questions remain over whether the eight-year-old can stay the trip. He’s run over 4m before but was soundly beaten into 4th by 27l on that occasion. Heavy ground will help him, but after a nervy jumping performance in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, it may pay to steer clear of the Irish-bred raider.
Chase the Spud
Chase the Spud is a runner who should be given serious consideration for the Welsh National. He saw off Saturday’s jolly to win the Midlands Grand National last term. And he restarted this campaign with a confident success at Haydock in November.
His experience over 4m could be crucial given the state of the ground. He has the staying power but will have to defy another 9lb rise to land his grandest prize to date.
Ask The Weatherman
A successful point-to-point racer, Ask The Weatherman has shown a touch of class over fences, too. Jack R Barber’s raider has won two out of three when chasing and most recently proved his worth over 3m at Exeter.
For a fancy that is proven over the longer distances and loves the ground, the son of Tamure makes for a tempting each-way shout.
Rule out Vicente at your peril. Paul Nicholls’ nine-year-old is a two-time winner of the Scottish Grand National and on that basis cannot be discounted here. Track and trip will suit, although 11st12lb on his back is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.
While victory may be slightly beyond his reach, the Coral News Team certainly think the French-bred raider can challenge for place claims at the very least.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.