Officials at Chepstow have moved quickly to reschedule the Welsh Grand National for 6 January after Wednesday’s fixture was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.
The three-mile-five-furlong heat was due to be the feature event on a seven-race card but rain and snow over the last two days has left the track unraceable. Three of the last seven renewals have been run in early January and in consultation with the race sponsor and the British Horseracing Authority, the card has been saved once again.
Wednesday’s Talking Horses
Plenty of rain is expected overnight at Chepstow after nearly 20mm in 24 hours over Christmas, and a precautionary inspection has been called for 7.30am. Officials remain optimistic that the Welsh National meeting will survive, but the conditions for the big race are certain to be gruelling, even by Chepstow’s standards.
Rock The Kasbah is unbeaten in three starts at Chepstow but may struggle under his big weight if the ground is as demanding as seems likely.
Beware The Bear and Chase The Spud also have plenty of weight and Mysteree (2.50), unraced so far this season, catches the eye with 10st 13lb. Michael Scudmore’s runner is on a fair mark based on his second in the Midlands National, and has won off an extended break several times in the past.
Chepstow 1.05 The admirable Play The Ace has won four times since early November and should go well in pursuit of a nap hand, but he is up 21lb in the weights since starting his run and had nothing to spare last time out. Quite By Chance could be the one to beat him, having looked in need of a return to this kind of trip at Ascot last month. He also has winning form on heavy going.
Kempton 1.20 A race with some outstanding names on the roll of honour, but on paper this does not look a strong renewal with the five runners unable to muster a win on their most recent start between them. Shantou Rock would probably have won under a more patient ride last time, however, and gives Bridget Andrews a big chance to record the first Grade Two race victory of her career.
Chepstow 1.35 A big field of closely matched handicappers, but Kris Spin could well have a pound or two in hand. Kerry Lee’s runner is a proven stayer with form on heavy ground and put up a good performance on the clock when second at Uttoxeter last month. The fourth and fifth horses home there are both winners since.
Kempton 1.55 A modest field but all six go to post with a chance on their best form. Jester Jet was less than two lengths behind the winner in a close finish in open company at Cheltenham last time, and could be the pick of the prices back against her own sex.
Chepstow 2.10 An excellent field for the only juvenile Grade One in Britain before the Triumph. Famous Milly was a wide-margin winner last time but was favoured by the way the race unfolded, and Sussex Ranger will be hard to peg back if he jumps as smoothly as he did at Sandown last time.
Kempton 2.30 Special Tiara goes for a third win in this race in the past four years and is ideally suited by this track and trip, but is now 10 and will need to be at this very best to cope with Politologue as he continues to establish himself as a new star of the two-mile division.
Kempton 3.05 Tom George has an excellent recent record in this ra ce and another big contender in Brandon Hill, who was only beaten seven lengths on his seasonal debut at Ascot and must go close off the same mark with that run behind him.
Chepstow 12.35 Jaunty Flyer 1.05 Quite By Chance 1.35 Kris Spin 2.10 Sussex Ranger 2.50 Mysteree (nap) 3.20 Prime Venture 3.50 Mercy Mercy Me
Kempton 12.45 Redicean 1.20 Shantou Rock 1.55 Jester Jet (nb) 2.30 Politologue 3.05 BrandonHill 3.40 Chatez
Wetherby 12.30 Bulkov 1.00 Three Ways 1.30 Albert’s Back 2.05 Archive 2.40 Same Circus 3.15 Spoils Of War
Wolverhampton 1.45 Eternalist 2.15 Ghepardo 2.45 Rizzle Dizzle 3.25 Kaser 3.55 Daisy Bere 4.25 Cricklewood Green 4.55 Jorvik Prince 5.25 Best Example