Welsh National Preview

Chepstow

Horse Racing
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Published: 12/12/2011

Although the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day serves as the main festive treat in terms of horse racing, the Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27 provides an excellent follow up and a stern three mile five furlong marathon for some of the best staying handicappers around.

2010 winner Synchronised will be looking to make a bold bid for a repeat success and the JP McManus owned eight year-old is likely to go off favourite based on his fine performance last year.

Trained by former champion jockey Jonjo O’Neill, Synchronised will once more have the benefit of AP McCoy on his back – nevertheless he will have it all do attempting to give weight to the rest of the field and defying a stiff handicap mark.

Victor Dartnall’s Giles Cross finished the best part of three lengths second to Synchronised last Christmas and providing he can either hold or improve his form, he may be the horse to pose the biggest threat to the reigning champion, especially if he receives a bigger pull at the weights.

Recent Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers will head to Chepstow with a massive chance assuming that the Newbury race has not taken too much out of him – he has after all shown to be a rather fragile horse in the past.

His defeat of Punchestown Gold Cup winner Planet Of S ound must rate as strong form nevertheless and the extended trip at the Welsh venue should bring out even more in him.

The horse to really focus on however is Donald McCain’s Wymott who has been highly regarded by connections for some time.

After a trouble free novice campaign, Wymott lined up for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but was pulled up due to an injury.

On his return, he finished behind Carruthers in the Hennessy but stayed on impressively for an eye catching sixth place in ground that was clearly far too fast for him. McCain surmised exactly that after the race and suggested that the Welsh National would suit his charge down to the ground – particularly as the going at Chepstow will be more or less perfect for his profile.

Also, due to the horse’s disappointing Festival bid in March, Wymott ran off a featherweight at Newbury and it is unlikely that the handicapper will have punished him too much in time for his next run.

At odds of around 10/1 ante-post, Wymott looks an extremely solid each way bet and can either extend punters Boxing Day winnings or provide a belated Christmas present for those who do not collect at Kempton Park.

Whichever horse is selected for the race, it needs to be able to jump and travel well.

Three miles five furlongs is a major distance to conquer at Grade Three level and it is important for horses to be able to switch off and cruise through the opening exchanges unscathed.

Previous Chepstow form would also be a bonus as the fences do take some jumping, particularly towards the end of the stamina sapping final circuit.


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