Welsh Grand National Tips: Dominateur to score at Chepstow

Welsh Grand National Tips: A sparkling betting heat to light up Chepstow on Saturday.
Welsh Grand National Tips: A sparkling betting heat to light up Chepstow on Saturday.

Steve Chambers previews the rescheduled Welsh Grand National, which takes place at Chepstow on Saturday and it will see a hugely competitive field line up for the marathon showpiece...

A facile 12-length success in the Welsh Grand National Trial at Chepstow in December catapulted the Evan Williams-trained Secret Reprieve to the head of the Welsh Grand National betting, and the progressive seven-year-old will look to follow that impressive display up on Saturday, and he is a warm order to do so.

For future races Secret Reprieve will run off a mark of 142, but for Saturday's event he will line up off 134, so he is effectively 8 lb well in, and having shown a real zest for the heavy conditions at Chepstow, he sets the standard for his rivals to match. Sneaking in at the bottom of the handicap, Williams' charge will face some classier rivals this weekend, but he looks like he could be a potential staying star of the future. However, his recent win came over a trip just a shade under three miles and Saturday's event will be over 3m 6f 130y, so he will be going into unchartered territories in the closing stages, and while he will have a featherweight to carry he will have his work cut out to get the better of some proven stayers.

Entitled to be a warm order, Secret Reprieve is a fascinating contender, but at the short prices it could be worth looking elsewhere for a more attractive betting proposition with plenty holding a sporting chance of claiming a place at the very least.

Tom George's Springfield Fox was well fancied for the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year, but unseated his rider in the middle of that contest. Prior to that he had won two novice chases by a combined winning distance of 29 lengths to show that he could be a smart performer over fences. George elected to hand Springfield Fox his first run this season over hurdles at the beginning of December, where he was second at Chepstow, but now returning to the chasing sphere he can show his talents. Lining up off a mark of 142, Springfield Fox has shaped like an out and out stayer, so this test should see him at his best, but it's his first run in a hugely competitive, big-runner field, and he could prove vulnerable to a more experienced rival.

Yala Enki (3rd), Truckers Lodge (2nd) and The Two Amigos (5th) all competed in last year's Welsh National, and the trio will all take their chance again in the rescheduled 2020 running. Yala Enki will have the burden of top weight in this year's event and runs off a 5 lb higher mark. Set for a tilt at the Grand National at the end of the season, the Paul Nicholls-trained raider was a first fence faller in the Becher Chase in December, and while this stamina test will see him at his best, he's too high in the weights to play a primary role here.

Truckers Lodge will add more depth to the Nicholls charge, but the Midlands National hero runs off a staggering 16 lb higher mark in this year's contest and having unseated at Kelso last time out he's one to ignore. The Two Amigos is said to be in fine form according to trainer Nicky Martin and runs off the same mark of 142 in Saturday's event. He chased home Secret Reprieve in the trial event in December, but he should come on for that outing and a return to the Welsh venue should see him produce a fine effort, and of the three mentioned here, he is the standout selection.

Oliver Sherwood has a fascinating runner in the shape of Dominateur, who has won on his two previous visits to Chepstow and will look to make it three on the bounce this weekend. A winner on Welsh National day last season, Dominateur relished the testing conditions, and providing an inspection can be passed for the weekend fixture then he could get similar underfoot conditions again. Seventh in the Midlands National at the end of last season, Dominateur has been dropped to a mark of 141, which is definitely workable. He was no match for Pym and If The Cap Fits in a three-runner intermediate chase last time out at Sandown, but a fiercely contested handicap will bring out the best in him, and at an eye-catching double-figured price here he can hand Grand National-winning trainer Sherwood another notable success in a staying marathon.

2018 runner-up Ramses De Teillee will attempt to go one better for David Pipe in the 2020 running, but the Pond House inmate is 13 lb higher in this year's contest, so can be ignored, while Colin Tizzard's Christmas In April is another towards the head of the betting, but has failed to kick on from a Devon National success and could be outclassed here.

Of the others, Bobo Mac was third behind Secret Reprieve and The Two Amigos in the Welsh National trial, and was well beaten that day, so will struggle to turn the form around, while the Lucinda Russell-trained Big River is one that will relish this real test of stamina and showed his class when fifth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. A dour stayer, the veteran could sneak into a place at huge odds, but will not have the class to land victory in a race that can see Dominateur strike for the Sherwood team.


Welsh Grand National, Chepstow, Saturday 9th January - back Dominateur at 12/1

Welsh Grand National
Dominateur silk


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