Benvolio Top Pick For Welsh National
Welsh Grand National
For punters who like to use recent trends as a guide to finding their selection for a big race, then Saturday’s Welsh Grand National will whet the appetite.
Often a race that falls to a chaser with a similar profile each year, namely an improving 6-8yo with a top four showing last time, emerging from the top half of the betting. The following trends are also relevant.
Of the last 10 Welsh National winners…
10 returned 20/1 or shorter – outsiders at 22/1 or bigger were 0-65
10 were 6-8yo’s – others were 0-88
10 ran during the last 21-60 days
9 were non-favourites
9 moved up in trip by 2f or further from last time
9 finished first and second last time out
9 had 1-2 runs during previous 90 days
9 made the top four last time
8 had 5 handicap chase runs or less (8%) – others were 2-88 (2%)
7 had run twice or more at Chepstow (9%) – others were 3-108 (3%)
6 arrived via Cheltenham or Chepstow
Richard Lee and Paul Nicholls won it twice each
It’s worth noting that while 6-8yo’s were preferred over the last 10 years, three 9yo’s did triumph from 200-2003, offering hope to the likes of Midnight Prayer (8/1), Monbeg Dude (8/1) and Hawkes Point (12/1).
But, should recent trends continue, then Paul Nicholls’ 7yo, Benvolio, has the kind of profile to appeal, as a second season chaser who caught the eye on his reappearance at Wincanton last month (3m1f, good to soft).
Staying on late that day, he’ll stay further and has won on very soft ground – forecast for Saturday.
David Pipe’s 7yo, Amigo (12/1) is another to consider, as he is still fairly unexposed and arrives with a close second here at Chepstow several weeks ago (3m, good to soft). He kept on to finish seventh in last year’s renewal and should be therebouts once more.
Amigo was eventually beaten 17l by the 9yo, Mountainous, 12 months ago, who is 12/1 to defend his Welsh crown from just a 3lb higher mark. Given a pipe opener three weeks ago, he is sure to handle conditions, as is the 2012 winner of the race, Monbeg Dude – for the record, the last dual winner of the Welsh National was in 1988-89.
Let’s not forget the 7/1 favourite, Shotgun Paddy, though, who won January’s marathon Classic Chase at Warwick (4m, good to soft), and blew the cobwebs away last month. Emma Lavelle’s 7yo was beaten 59l on that return, and has no easy task off top-weight of 11st12lb, despite winning off 11st7lb at Warwick.
As for any lively outsiders, then the 9yo, One In A Milan, looks cracking each-way value at 16/1 having been fourth in this last year (beaten under 8l) and is actually 1lb lower on Saturday, while Philip Hobbs’ 8yo, Gas Line Boy (14/1) has won his last two races, including a 3m5f handicap at Haydock last month (soft).
Plenty in with a chance, but Paul Nicholls likes to win this race and has a likeable candidate in Benvolio, who really caught the eye on his return and looks to have been ripened for this.