Track Talk By Executive Director Phil Bell - 29/11/22


29 November 2022

Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Royale Pagaille heads the 58 entries for the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Tuesday 27 December.  The star of Venetia Williams’ stable was fifth in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, only inches away from finishing third.  He stays well, goes on the likely soft ground and sets a high standard. 

Twelve times champion trainer Paul Nicholls has five entries and the last two winners Secret Reprieve and Iwilldoit are entered once again. Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan has entered Eva’s Oskar who ran well to finish second at Cheltenham recently.

This year's race is being run in the memory of the late Kim Gingell, so it would be fitting if her brother Joe Tizzard trained the winner. He has four entries. There are ten entries from Ireland, whose runners in handicaps have to be respected. Gordon Elliot has three of them with Willie Mullins and Peter Fahey also represented. 

The race is attracting a younger, up-and-coming set of contenders these days, with 88% of the entrants aged between six and nine. The older horses may be few in number but they have been given a chance by the handicapper. The Two Amigos, second two years ago, and Achille, fourth in 2021, are likely to run off marks about a stone lower this time. 

We are really looking forward to this years' renewal for a variety of reasons. It's the 50th anniversary of Coral's sponsorship of this prestigious race, which is one of the longest commercial partnerships in sport and it will also be the first time that spectators have been able to attend since 2019 due to Covid restrictions. 

While Constitution Hill was dazzling everyone at Newcastle on Saturday, James Bowen was at Newbury riding a double on his stablemates and giving Nicky Henderson good cause to repeat his belief that his number two jockey is a future champion. 

On the basis of last season's bumper form, Luccia was even money favourite for her debut over hurdles in a mares' listed race. She gave her backers little cause for concern and won by five lengths. Late that afternoon Bowen rode First Street to victory in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle. 

It’s been a successful few days for jockey Connor Brace. He won aboard Paint The Dream at Newbury on Friday, Feel The Pinch at Bangor on Saturday and Herewegohoney at Catterick on Monday. Sean Bowen moved on to the 75 winner mark for the season with a double at the same Catterick meeting aboard Artistic Choice and Duke Of Luckley.

Our Christmas Party Race Day at Chepstow is this Saturday 3rd December – we have seven races from 11.53am including the Coral Welsh Grand National Trial. The Oasis Experience will be performing live after racing around 3.30pm. Tickets available in advance and on the day.



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