Elegant Escape winning the Welsh National at Chepstow.
The Welsh equivalent of the Aintree spectacular, the Welsh Grand National takes place each year on December 27, and is one of the big betting races of the year.
The latest odds for the Welsh Grand National will be listed below just as soon as they become available.
Welsh Grand National Tips
You can find our tip for the Welsh Grand National here a little closer to the time.
What is the Welsh Grand National?
The Welsh equivalent of the Aintree spectacular, the Welsh Grand National takes place on December 27 each year at Chepstow racecourse - held over a distance of three miles and five and a half furlongs, around four and a half furlongs shorter than the English National.
Along with being slightly shorter than the Grand National, the fences at Chepstow are like those that you would find in a conventional chase race, and there are 22 fences to be jumped - rather than the 30 at Aintree.
The winner of the Welsh Grand National regularly goes on to be a key player in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the most recent horse to win both races is the Colin Tizzard-trainer Native River, who won the Welsh National in 2016 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018. Meanwhile, two horses have won both the English and the Welsh Grand Nationals this century - Bindaree and Silver Birch.
What happened in the 2018 Welsh Grand National?
The Welsh National hasn't been shy of a gamble over the years, and like his stablemate Native River a couple of years before him, the Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old Elegant Escape was sent off as a very well-supported favourite.
As it usually is, the going proved to be attritional, and the vast majority of the 20-strong field struggled to land a blow. Elegant Escape had finished a fine second on handicap debut in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier that month, and arrived at Chepstow off a mark 4 lb lower than for that outing. Jumping on from three out, Elegant Escape relished the marathon distance and was in-control until wandering on the run-in, when Ramses De Teillee and mud lark Yala Enki chased in vein, but Elegant Escape held on to seal a second Welsh National win in three years.
Established in 1895, the Welsh National is 56 years younger than its Aintree-based cousin, but it has a rich history in its own right. The race originally used to take place on Easter Tuesday, and was held at Ely Racecourse in Cardiff, until it shut in 1939. After the Second World War, it was run at Caerleon for one year in 1948, before moving to Chepstow in 1949 - where it has remained since.
The race was switched from Easter Tuesday to a slot in February in 1969, before being moved to late December in 1979 - when the original fixture was abandoned due to snow. The meeting has remained in that position ever since, and is now traditionally held on the day after Boxing Day, December 27th.
It is common for winners of the Welsh National to go on to become key players in subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cups, and two horses have won both races this century; Synchronised and Native River. Meanwhile, two horses have won both the English National and the Welsh National in the same period - Bindaree and Silver Birch.
Who is the most iconic winner of the Welsh Grand National?
Some notable names have won the Welsh National over the years, though none are perhaps more iconic than the Jenny Pitman-trained Burrough Hill Lad, who won the race back in 1983.
Burrough Hill Lad's Welsh National win came during a prolific season, which he capped off with victory in the 1984 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He wasn't finished there, and his wins the following season included the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, the Hennessy Gold Cup (now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy) and the King George VI Chase.
Burrough Hill Lad was an exceptional handicapper, and carried a whopping 12 stone when winning the Hennessy at Newbury in 1984. He was unable to defend his Gold Cup crown in 1985 after suffering an injury, and was eventually retired in 1988 - but bowed out as one of the best chasers of his generation.
Are there any trial races for the Welsh Grand National?
The route to the Welsh National tends to be a varied one, and contenders can come from several different avenues. Several Welsh National contenders have first run in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in recent years, while the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby is another interesting race. Meanwhile, the top novices from the previous season regularly head to the Welsh National the following campaign, and races such as the RSA Chase can therefore be informative.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Welsh Grand National?
The most successful jockey in the history of the Welsh National is Peter Scudamore, with four wins. Peter Scudamore's four wins in the race came courtesy of Run And Skip (1985), Bonanza Boy (1988 and 1989) and Carvill's Hill (1991).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Welsh Grand National?
The most successful trainer in the history of the Welsh Grand National is the great Martin Pipe, with five wins. Pipe's five wins in the race came courtesy of Bonanza Boy (1988 and 1989), Carvill's Hill (1991) Run For Free (1992) and Riverside Boy (1993).