Wales set for another great Grand National

by Alan on December 26, 2014

in Sport

The Coral Welsh Grand National is the biggest horse race of the year in Wales, bringing people together in a wonderful social occasion which is a highlight of the festive season.

Initial entries for this year’s race include the last two winners Mountainous and Monbeg Dude.

Richard Lee’s nine-year-old, who was a thrilling winner by a head over Hawkes Point 12 months ago, warmed up for a shot at a second successive win in the race last week in the trial race. The £20,000 Coral Welsh Grand National Trial was the highlight of last weekend’s fixture and normally provides a clue as to the winner of the main event. In 2011, Le Beau Bai won the trial and then followed up by striking gold in the National proper. Last year saw Mountainous win the big one after coming third in the warm up race.

Coral’s Welsh Grand National is worth £100,000 in prize money, with the prestigious race always attracting some of the best jump horses in training. Previous winners include Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and Aintree Grand National winners Earth Summit, Silver Birch and Bindaree.

There are seven races on the day and as well as the Coral Welsh Grand National, there is the £35,000 Coral Finale Hurdle, a Grade One juvenile hurdle.

Welsh connection

The three mile test race for the main Grand National attracted a more than decent field with plenty of Welsh interest.

Haverfordwest handler Peter Bowen had a pair of interests in Buachaill Alainn and Velator while fellow Welsh trainers Rebecca Curtis and Evan Williams both have runners. Curtis saddled One Term while Williams, who has a decent Chepstow record, ran with Firebird Flyer.

There could well be a Welsh winner of the main event at Chepstow after Rebeccas Choice landed the trial for the big race. Ebbw Vale trainer Dai Burchell saw his charge come home ahead of the rest at the Monmouthshire course, raising hope of a repeat performance on December 27.

The Welsh Grand National trial has a good record of producing talent for the main event and it could well be a similar story with Rebeccas Choice. The 11-year-old battled to victory, seeing off David Pipe’s Amigo by three quarters of a length. Amigo had led for most of the race but just came up short. Hawkes Point, who was second in last year’s Welsh National, was third.

Tickets for the Coral Welsh Grand National on December 27 can be purchased at www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk.

Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival expectation is promising to keep much of Wales’ jumping fraternity warm this winter, as the enthralling event lurks just around the corner after the New Year.

The event is one of sport’s most enthralling extravaganzas and in 2015 the nation will once again be swept by horse racing fever as racing fanatics prepare to embark on an unrivalled path of joy and excitement.

The 2015 Cheltenham Festival will run from 10th to 13th March with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place on Friday 13th March. The course can expect to welcome over 200,000 racegoers from all over the world, with it believed that more than £500 million will be gambled throughout the week.

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