Coral Welsh Grand National

This weekend sees the Coral Welsh Grand National take centre stage at Chepstow racecourse. It is a very valuable race with close to 70,000 pound going to the winner. The race usually takes place in late December however due to adverse weather the race had to be rescheduled to this weekend. It is run over 3m and 5f’s and in total 22 fences are to be jumped. A race of this nature usually attracts a large field and this year is no different with 20 runners set to start. Last year’s renewal was won by Emperor’s Choice who is back again to defend his title and it only seems right that we should start are analysis with the Venetia Williams trained runner.

Emperor’s Choice – Rated 141 – (current best price – 11-1)

Emperor’s Choice is a real warrior, he ground out victory in this race last year by a head when he looked beaten 2 fences out. He returned to action in November and put in a typical gutsy performance to defy top weight, grinding out an impressive victory in the hands of Aidan Coleman. He is a true stayer and you can guarantee Williams will have him finely tuned for this race. At odds of 10-1 he is a nice price however he does have a large weight to carry and that is enough for me to look elsewhere. Be aware though Aidan Coleman was adamant yesterday when interviewed that this horse has improved again and seemed relatively confident that this horse could defy a hefty weight then again we have heard Aidan Coleman confident about a horse many times already this season for it to finish way of the pace so take what he says with a pinch of salt.

Cogry – Rated 137 – (current best price – 7-1)

When I was pricing up horses for this race back in December, I made Cogry favourite in my book so it was no surprise to see him priced up as favourite. He really caught the eye last time out over shorter and shaped as if 3m 5f’s would suit. Nigel Twiston Davies knows what it takes to win a race of this nature and to me at odds of 7-1 Cogry is a nice each way bet. He is still relatively lightly raced for his age and I think he will improve upon his last run. He is a major player in my book and I can’t leave him un-backed here today. The form of that last race has been franked by Perfect Candidate since and he looks a solid proposition.

Mountainous – Rated 132 – (current best price – 8-1)

Mountainous is one of two second favourites and as a previous winner, it’s not hard to miss his obvious appeal. He has been getting closer recently and we know he gets this trip. The form of his last run looks strong and over an extra furlong looks set for a big run. Kerry Lee has been in the winner’s enclosure a fair amount this year and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her back there this weekend however for me there is a better handicapped horse to be taken from that race and I will touch upon that one in better detail later on.

Upswing – Rated – 139 (current best price – 8-1)

Upswing is your joint second favourite for this race. He ran in the same race as Cogry last time out and actually beat Cogry by around 2l’s however it was clear that given an extra furlong Cogry would have reversed that form. I think the market has it right and I can’t see how Cogry won’t reverse that form. I’m not the biggest fan of Geraghty and I think there are better horses in this race for win purposes.

Shotgun Paddy – Rated 145 – (current best price – 10-1)

Shotgun Paddy is another horse to put on the shortlist and ran in the same race as both Cogry and Upswing last time out. He put in a good performance and it was in general terms a return to form for this horse. He was pulled up in this race last year and that to me makes the 10-1 look pretty short. I worry about this horse’s mentality as you never really know what performance you are going to get. He does stay this far on a going day and is a horse to note however for me I will be staying clear of the Shotgun on this occasion.

Bertie Boru – Rated 132 – (current best price – 20-1)

Bertie Boru is my major fancy for this race. He ran in the same race as Moutainous last time out and finished with a lot left in the tank. He didn’t get the best run that day and had to be switched at a crucial point. To me he was ridden with this race in mind as he was never really given a chance to win from the position he took up however the progress he made through the field was very eye catching and at 20-1 he is a huge price considering Mountainous is best price 8-1. I will watching eagerly and hopefully Bertie can deliver a big run

Other runners to note are the Rebecca Curtis trained Red Devil Lads who returned to action with a good second while Return Spring is another notable runner for Phillip Hobbs.

How we bet – For me Bertire Boru is a massive price and I am quietly confident in his capability for this race. I will be backing him and Cogry both each way.

Bertie Boru – (1pt E/W) 20-1 is available at Skybet.

Cogry – (0.5pts E/W) 7-1 is available at most bookmakers.

Good Luck with whoever you choose and I’m sure it will be a great spectacle.

DG tips – Tipsters Empire

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