For the second year in a row, the historic Welsh Grand National will be staged behind closed doors. While that’s a great shame, it doesn’t stop us enjoying the race from home and nor does it stop us having a bet!
A competitive field has been assembled as always, the winner taking home more than £85,000. For our part, we’ve separated these six runners from the field in search of a big seasonal handicap winner:
After ten chases you may think we know as much as we’re going to know about Deise Aba, but his profile is still that of an improving horse and we reckon a career high is coming now.
Last time out at Sandown earlier this month, Deise Aba ran on very well for second, losing on the bob to Highland Hunter which is good form.
Philip Hobbs’ gelding was running to what we think is his very best that day and lost a shoe in the process, so there is a very strong chance that there is now more to come.
Paul Nicholls’ runner comes into this as a last-time-out winner and he’s certainly one that has his best days ahead of him in staying chases.
On only his fourth chase start he was fifth in the Midlands National over 4¼ miles, beaten just five lengths, while after a break he scored earlier this month ahead of Deise Aba at Sandown in a good race on the nod.
Hold That Taught
Younger, less experienced horses aren’t necessarily at a disadvantage in this race and it must be said that the way Venetia Williams’ gelding won last time marked him out as a likely type for this race.
At Carlisle over 3m2f, Hold That Taught kept on nicely to draw clear and gave the impression that the further he went the more daylight he would have put between himself and the field.
He has been raised 6lbs for that, but frankly the performance was worth more than that and further improvement is highly likely now. This trip could bring a new best out of him and he looks bolted on for a place if facing no bad luck in running.
Last year Secret Reprieve managed to win the Welsh National Trial before landing the big one, while Ramses De Teillee also went very close to achieving the same feat. Looking to do it this year is Iwilldoit and he could hardly have won more impressively earlier this month.
In the trial he jumped well to ultimately score by some 24 lengths. He has been raised 10lbs for that win and rightly so. It’s now up to us to decide whether that will anchor him or not but surely he could have won by further and clearly he has not reached his peak yet.
Ramses De Teillee
Of major interest is David Pipe’s Ramses De Teillee, a past winner of the trial for this race, runner-up in it once as well as being second in the Grand National Trial and having won at last year’s November meeting at Cheltenham.
He is made for these big staying handicap chases and may well be about to peak. In 2018 he was in sparkling form in some of the aforementioned races, reaching a mark of 153. He is now off just 146 but showed major signs last time of getting back to his best.
Having run third in a hurdle race, he attempted to lead all the way at Haydock over less than 3¼ miles which basically took the wind out of him. He only truly faltered very late on, losing a couple of places in the final few yards, and will be 100% fit now. This trip suits perfectly and he could be a major player.
Last year’s winner has obviously attracted more bets, mainly on the assumption that he must still be well handicapped and has been laid out for this repeat attempt.
Uniquely, trainer Evan Williams is looking to land a Welsh National double in the same year with this horse as last season’s renewal wasn’t staged until January 9th, but having been off the track since then and facing a 7lb weight they do have their work cut out here.
Iwilldoit could prove to be good value, while Hold That Taught is well fancied and will carry plenty of bets. The one we like best of all however is RAMSES DE TEILLEE and it could be his day in the sun.
It’s long been thought that David Pipe’s charge has a huge handicap like this one in him, while having run so well in the race before we know he likes the event.
Tom Scudamore can get the best out of this horse and, at the odds, Ramses De Teillee looks terrific value and is bound to give is all a very goof run for our money at least.