The overall standard of entries for the 2019 running of the Coral Welsh Grand National has seldom been higher with the three most recent winners amongst a total of 61 entries remaining in the race, which will take place on Friday 27 December at Chepstow Racecourse.
Colin Tizzard’s 2016 winner NATIVE RIVER, the subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, 2017 winner RAZ DE MAREE, at 13 the oldest horse to win the Coral Welsh Grand National; and 2018’s victor ELEGANT ESCAPE all remain in the entries for what is one of the highlights of the Christmas racing calendar.
Heading up the Welsh trainer contenders are Rebecca Curtis’ JOE FARRELL and POTTERS CORNER, trained by Christian Williams, winners of the Scottish and Midlands Grand Nationals respectively
BALLYOPTIC, beaten a nose by Joe Farrell at Ayr, beat Elegant Escape in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby earlier this month, and comes from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that loves collecting Nationals.
Paul Nicholls has four entries, including YALA ENKI, a five-length third in last year’s Coral Welsh Grand National, when carrying three pounds more than the winner; GIVE ME A COPPER, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, recent winner of the Badger Beer Trophy at Wincanton; and the novice TRUCKERS LODGE, who won a beginners’ chase at Chepstow in October but is a confirmed stayer and has been installed as 10/1 favourite with sponsors Coral.
Eight runners are trained in Wales, with its leading trainer Evan Williams supplying three of them.
There are four Irish entries, plus a rare raider from Scotland, Nick Alexander’s LAKE VIEW LAD. He is one of three horses who could line up in the colours of Trevor Hemmings, who has collected three Aintree Grand Nationals to date.
Philip Hobbs’ ROCK THE KASBAH is a real Chepstow specialist, having won at the course three times, and he also finished runner-up in the 2018 Bet365 Gold Cup.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsor Coral, David Stevens commented, “We’re delighted with a typically classy set of entries for the latest renewal of the Coral Welsh Grand National – one of the longest running sponsorships in sport – with previous winners Native River and Elegant Escape both prominent in the betting for trainer Colin Tizzard, while his great rival Paul Nicholls also has a strong hand, spearheaded by ante-post favourite Truckers Lodge, and Give Me A Copper, co-owned by a man who’s no stranger to sporting success, Sir Alex Ferguson”
Run over three- and three-quarter miles, it is sure to be one of the truest, classiest stamina tests of the season. For more information, or to by tickets, please visit www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk.