A maximum field of 20 has been declared for the 2018 Coral Welsh Grand National (tomorrow, Thursday 27th December).
Trainer Colin Tizzard, who won the big race with Native River in 2016, is responsible for the current favourite Elegant Escape who will be ridden by Tom O’Brien. If the six-year-old gelding was to be successful it would be O’Brien’s 2nd victory in the Coral Welsh Grand National having steered Dream Alliance to victory in 2009.
The second favourite is three time course winner Ramses de Teillee, trained by David Pipe who also runs Vieux Lion Rouge.
It would be an apt story if David could train the winner because it’s 30 years since his father Martin Pipe saddled Bonanza Boy to the first of his two victories in the race.
Three horses have travelled over from Ireland including last year’s 13-year-old winner Raz De Maree, who was ridden to victory in 2017 by 16-year-old Welsh rider James Bowen. This year Raz de Maree will be ridden by Irish conditional jockey Conor Orr.
The Coral Welsh Grand National is one of the few big races leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott hasn’t won and he’s sent his 11-year-old Folsom Blue over to try and win the prize. The third Irish challenger, the grey Baie Des Iles trained by Ross O’Sullivan, came fifth in the race in 2016.
Two Welsh horses in with a chance of taking the prize are Rons Dream, trained by Peter Bowen in Pembrokeshire and Looksnowtlikebrian, trained by Tim Vaughan in the Vale of Glamorgan. Both will be ridden by Welsh jockeys – Sean Bowen and Alan Johns respectively.
Other fancied horses include Vintage Clouds, Ballyoptic and Final Nudge.
The other feature race on the card, the £65,000 Coral Finale Hurdle, has attracted five entries – Adjali, Arverne, De Bruyne Horse, Quel Destin and Tazka.
Phil Bell, Executive Director at Chepstow Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to see such a competitive field line-up for the biggest race in Wales. Best of luck to all the owners, trainers and jockeys taking part tomorrow.”
The full list of runners is:
Vyta du Roc
Vieux Lion Rouge
Baie Des Iles
Ramses de Teillee
Raz de Maree
Kansas City Chief
Holly Bush Henry