Written by one of our top tipsters Eagle Eyes.
The Welsh Grand National is a stern test of stamina over 3miles 5 ½ furlongs in soft/heavy ground. Course form is a major plus for any runner declared for this handicap run on the 27th December.
I will now look at my version of the stats/trends needed for finding the winner of this marathon race. All stats/trends are freely available on the net.
Stats/Trends last 10 years:
10 of 10 winners have been aged 6 to 8.
French bred: 5-10-46
Irish bred: 5-14-98
GB bred: 1-6-38
USA bred: 0-0-2
Horses carrying 10-10 or more: 3-12-58
Horses carrying 10-9 or less: 7-17-120
No very strong trend on weights, though last 3 out of last 4 winners carried 10-0 or 10-1.
Horses rated 143 or higher: 2-12-58
Horses rated 142 or lower: 8-18-126
6 of last 10 winners (including last 4) were officially rated 137 or lower
10/10 winners were aged 6-8 years old.
10/10 winners had won over 3M or further
10 /10 winners had run in the past 55 days
9 of 10 winners finished in the first 4 last time (5 won)
9 of 10 winners had run once or twice that season
9 of 10 winners had run in 6 or fewer handicap chases
9 of 10 winners were second or third season chasers (exceptions was a 4th season chaser that had previously finished 3rd in this)
8 of 10 winners had finished in the first 3 in a listed/graded chase (2 exceptions had yet to run in a graded chase)
The big stats are that you need are a 6-8yo to win this race.
10/10 runners have run in the past 55 days.
10/10 have won over 3miles or further.
9/10 winners finished in the first 4 last time (5 won)
9/10 have run once or twice this season.
After these stats I had fourteen contenders.
Using the remaining stats we now down to five.
O´Faolains Boy, Black Thunder, Cogry, Return Spring, Chase The Spud
O’Faolains Boy won the RSA in 2014 beating Smad Place by a neck; Smad Place certainly endorsed that form with his Hennessy win. Didn’t run last season and pulled up first run this campaign. He returned to form with a 15L victory at Newbury. Rebecca Curtis is now back in form after a new feed didn’t sit well with her inmates.
Black Thunder is a listed chase winner who has run well off the mark before, though he has bled in the past. Today’s distance on soft/heavy may find him out. Paul Nicholls his trainer has won this race twice before.
Cogry looks a big race grinder who will stay all day. Ran an encouraging race last time at Cheltenham when he was making up ground at the death. Twiston-Davies has won this race twice before.
Return Spring has won on heavy over 3miles, but that was a novice event and todays challenge is vastly different. I can’t have him staying the distance in the ground.
Chase The Spud’s novice chase h’cap win at Exeter in 2014 reads well because he easily beat Virtuel D’Oudon who went on to win a class 2 hurdle race in Feb 2015 off 136. Ballyculla who was third in this race won a class 3 chase off 132 this month. Finally the sixth that day went on to win two chases with the last one being off a mark of 126. Since his win, Chase The Spud had been pulled up twice over the next twelve months before returning last month at Lingfield in the mud. Off todays mark of 126 he lead for most of the race until he was passed by the eventual winner. What I liked was his attitude, as he fought all the way to the line. This was a great run after 10 months off.
I have respect for all five of these but I must make a choice so I shall opt for two.
Cogry must be backed as he looks the perfect type. Twiston-Davies would have had this race planned for a long time now.
Taking the stat that 3/4 of the last winners have carried 10st or 10st 1lb, I will also back Chase The Spud.
Back Cogry to win at 10.00 with bet365.
Back Chase The Spud at 67.00 Each Way with Betfair Sportsbook knowing that the horse is a reserve at the moment or wait until NRNB before taking a price. Bet365 & Paddy Power are usually the first firms to quote NRNB.