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Big Race Preview: Coral Welsh Grand National

27 Dec 2022
It's Coral's 50th year sponsoring the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow today, and ahead of the exciting contest, we take a look at some of the key contenders. 

Quick Wave

Although the race kind of fell apart in front of her, Quick Wave could hardly have been more impressive when winning the London National on Tingle Creek day at Sandown earlier this month, and she’ll have gone into plenty of notebooks after that success. Her well-respected yard have won this race twice before with Jocks Cross (2000) and Emperor’s Choice (2014), so connections clearly have a very good idea of what it takes to win around here. One slight concern would be that most of her best runs have come when fresh, but if she handles this fairly quick turnaround, then she’s clearly a very strong contender for the Venetia Williams team. 

Ask Me Early

With a strike rate of 5-10 under rules, Harry Fry’s lightly-raced grey certainly knows where the winning post is. He finished a respectable third behind subsequent Coral Gold Cup winner, Le Milos, at Bangor-on-Dee on his seasonal reappearance, a run which should have put him spot on for this. Ask Me Early has looked the sort who’d benefit from marathon trips on a number of occasions, so this test should be right up his street, and it’s not hard to see him being involved at the business end. 

The Big Dog 

Although he’s a horse who has certainly frustrated connections over the years, The Big Dog has always shown plenty of ability. The penny has seemingly dropped for Peter Fahey’s eight-year-old this year, having won the Munster National and the Troytown so far on his two starts this season. Connections have made no secret that Aintree is their big ambition, but if he turns up at Chepstow, then he’d clearly be a horse to take very seriously. 

The Galloping Bear 

Ben Clarke’s The Galloping Bear has really put this yard on the map, and with a perfect record of 4-4 over fences so far, he’ll have plenty of supporters come Welsh National day. He put up a career-best effort when leaving Bristol De Mai well behind when a comfortable winner of the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February, and a spin round Carlisle over hurdles last month was the perfect prep run for this. While he doesn’t have the experience usually required to win a race like this, he’s a horse who could still be well ahead of the handicapper.

Pats Fancy

Rebecca Curtis’ seven-year-old was highly tried over hurdles, but chasing was always going to be his game, and Pats Fancy has shown on more than one occasion that he’ll be a contender in these big staying chases for years to come. His local yard will have surely had this race as a target all summer, and if he can avoid the jumping errors that held him back at times last season, then he could ensure that the trophy once again remains in Wales.

Lewis Knowles, PR Executive


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