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Coral Welsh Grand National: Iwilldoit

Racing
|

22 December 2023

If Iwilldoit wins the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on December 27, then look out for 25 co-owners celebrating like they’re keen to make up for lost time.

It was two years ago that the horse romped home as the race winner, at a venue that was still in the grip of Covid restrictions.

“Only four of the syndicate were allowed to be there that day and all we could buy were soft drinks,” recalls Chris Morgan, director of Diamond Racing.

“It was classified as a working arrangement for the four. But that was the maximum because of the Covid rules at the time. 

“It was strange atmosphere with no crowds, surreal. The course is huge but the only people there that day were a handful of owners and trainers.

“If he won again this year, I think the celebrations will be a little different.”

It could well happen.

Iwilldoit is among the favourites and although the Sam Thomas-trained horse is not frequently seen on the racecourse, the ten-year-old has a fine record of achievement when it comes to the big races.

“He does have his problems,” says Morgan.

“But when he gets on the racetrack, I actually can’t recall the last time he ran a bad race. He’s just a dream to be part of as an owner.

“Sam Thomas always felt that he was a horse perfectly suited to the Coral Welsh Grand National and he’s been proved right.

“If gets to the start line, then I think he’s going to be hugely competitive. Conditions will suit him and it would be fantastic for all those shareholders if they were to be there to see it.”

With Covid rules, thankfully, no more than a memory, around 9000 spectators are expected to flock to Welsh racing’s biggest day of the year.

With a vibrant, throbbing match day atmosphere like a Six Nations rugby international, the Coral Welsh Grand National takes its rightful place among the crown jewels of the Welsh sporting calendar.

The unique Welsh flavour of the race has always been evident and will be there again this year. There will even be a small platoon of Welsh Guards who will march in with the winner’s trophy, while Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is sung by soprano, Shan Cothi.

If Tom Jones is more your thing, then then he’ll be there too – at least in spirit, through tribute act, Dean Jones.

If you want the real Tom, then you’ll have to wait until July when he is booked to perform in concert at the racecourse.

Chepstow also always manages to look rather magical at this time of year, with festive lights set against the backdrop of a beautiful Welsh winter landscape.

Some of the great steeplechasers of British racing have won the race in the past, such as Burrough Hill Lad and Bonanza Boy, as well as those who have gone on to win the Grand National itself at Aintree, including Silver Birch, Bindaree and Earth Summit.

If it’s glamour you’re after as well as prestige, then this is the race that ultimately launched the film star career of Dream Alliance, the horse that won in 2009.

Like Iwilldoit, Dream Alliance was owned by a group of racing enthusiasts who pooled their cash together after a night in the pub discussing their dream of racehorse ownership, it later inspired the movie, Dream Horse.

The first Welsh Grand National of 1895 attracted 21 entries, although only seven turned up, and boasted a first prize of £425, worth about £68,900 at today’s prices. 

That is not too far behind the £84,425 carried off by the owner of last year’s winner at Chepstow, The Two Amigos.

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