The first National race is finally here after being delayed. Good job the weather held up so it won’t be delayed again. The Welsh National, this year’s first 3.5-mile mud slug of 20 runners, where stamina will be the key not just for the distance but the heavy ground.
16 individual trends for this race, however this year there is no horse that satisfies 75% of the trends. The key trends are
- Age 6-8 and preferably of French breeding.
- Weight less than 10-9 and an Official Rating of 137 or less
- Finished no less than 4th in the last 55 days
- Ran at least once but not more than two races this season.
- Won at least 3 miles, preferably at a left handed track
- Ran in no more than 6 handicap chases and either won or placed in a graded chase.
- 2nd or 3rd season chaser and has form in some key long distance or National races in the past.
11 – CORGY & TOUR DE CHAMPS
9 – BLACK THUNDER, RED DEVIL LADS, FOUROVAKIND, WOODFIELD COUNTY
8 – SHOTGUN PADDY, BOB FORD, FIREBIRD FLYER, CHASE THE SPUD
7 – EMPEROR’S CHOICE, RETURN SPRING, MOUNTAINOUS, SAROQUE
6 – MASTERS HILL, UPSWING, PORTRAIT KING
5 – BENVOLIO, BERTIE BORU, ALLEZ VIC.
SPEED: SHOTGUN PADDY*, BLACK THUNDER, CORGY*, RED DEVIL LADS, WOODFORD COUNTY
FORM: RED DEVIL BOYS, EMPEROR'S CHOICE, CHASE THE SPUD, TOUR DE CHAMPS, FOROVAKIND.
ABILITY: EMPEROR’S CHOICE, BLACK THUNDER, SHOTGUN PADDY
PROBABILITY: RED DEVIL LADS, BLACK THUNDER, EMPEROR’S CHOICE, WOODFORD COUNTY, TOUR DE CHAMPS, CHASE THE SPUD
*CAREER BEST and probability in order from 42 to 25%
Sad ken has RED DEVIL LADS on both from and probability, on the trends is over the recommended weight and has 6lbs in hand on profile. Has won twice last year on heavy ground last year at 3 miles. Has a few positives, being out of BENEFICIAL who has sound NH stats and the ground will suit but stepping up from class 3, perhaps stamina is the key here for him.
CORGY is an interesting contender having course from and just outside the weights, seems to have been prepped for some 4 mile races and should go well here.
TOUR DE CHAMPS won here last time out on heavy ground and has a penalty, but has dropped 7lbs in weight which will compensate it, but has a mighty 8 lbs in hand on profile. Has form in key races in the trends and is one of French bred horses in the field.
SHOTGUN PADDY satisfies the latter trends with age, OR and weight against him, plus a chequered form. Has course and distance form and needs a good day to land this.
WOODFORD COUNTY, another who shows well on the trends and Sad Ken, stepping up in class and won at Exeter on heavy ground last time out over 30 furlongs. Like Tour De Champs has a penalty too, same weight loss to compensate and has 9lbs in hand on profile.
EMPEROR’S CHOICE, last year’s winner is above the weight and OR, that said the recent win at Haydock at this distance, cannot be ignored, and still has 8lbs in hand in profile.
BOB FORD, another stepping up in class, winning last time out impressively in similar conditions, profile suggests he has 17lbs of improvement in him.
FOUROVAKIND, I do not have recent speed figures to hand, but significantly breeding suggests he will go well in these conditions, if Sad Ken and profile state otherwise. The same can be said for CHASE THE SPUD.
I find it to be a bit of a mind job to narrow this race down to one clear contender as the 8 horses I have focused on are worthy of respect.
Personally I am tied between 3, EMPEROR’S CHOICE, TOUR DE CHAMPS and WOODFORD COUNTY, however all of these have ran in more than 6 Handicap Chases.
The strongest trend, looks at horses that have from in graded chases, if that is the case then I should be looking at CORGY, however, what is against him he’s the favourite, and the last one to win the race is in 2004.
That being said, no horse over the age of 8 has not won this race in the last ten years. Very significant, but those satisfying the age criteria have no graded form, RED DEVIL LADS and CHASE THE SPUD!
Luckily, there is an exception to the handicap trend, where two winners in the past ten years didn’t satisfy it, so with that I’ll side with TOUR DE CHAMPS