Cheppers and Kempers are the venues for today’s televised action and pride of place is taken by the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase at 2.50, which has a field of 17.
With an extra furlong added to the race distance on ‘elf and safety’ grounds and the ground on the heavy side, there are unlikely to be many finishers in what may turn out to be a war of attrition.
Colin Tizzard always has a strong hand to play in this race and his Elegant Escape is 3-1 favourite to repeat its victory of 12 months ago, off a 9lb higher mark, but we prefer the chances of his other runner, West Approach, which is available at a more palatable 12-1.
Ultra patient riding tactics have brought about a big improvement in this 9-y-o and Tom Scudamore is the right guy on top to execute the plan.
We also give a fair squeak to Prime Venture from the local Evan Williams‘ yard. Still a novice over fences, PV should get every yard and be fully prepared after an opening fourth on this course. Take the 9-1 each way.
Chepstow coverage begins with the Coral Handicap Chase at 1.05 and we’ll take on the hot favourite in this with Whatswrongwithyou at 100-30.
Mr Henderson‘s 8-y-o was travelling like a winner on seasonal bow before trying to take the third last home with it and being subsequently pulled up. That was in a hot Newbury contest and, if the horse can go over the fences instead of through them this afternoon, this looks the bet to have.
The Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at 1.35 also has a hot favourite in the unbeaten Allmankind fro the Skelton camp. May take some beating, but we’ll have a go, by suggesting Tavus each way at 5-1.
Jedd O’Keefe‘s gelding made a sparkling hurdles debut when winning in heavy ground at Newcastle and its victim went on to take a Grade 2 event next time out. With improvement just about assured, this looks the value.
The Coral Handicap Hurdle at 2.10 has Acey Milan installed as market leader at 7-4 and, having picked it last time, when just touched off at Haddock, we go in again at 7-4.
We also suggest an each way bet on the somewhat enigmatic Clyne which gets the right trip and ground for a change – 7-1 is the price.
Over at Kempton the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase kicks off proceedings at 1.20 and the rapidly improving Fanion D’Estruval is our selection at 5-4.
Venetia Williams‘ 4-y-o, unbeaten over fences (2 in France) made a visually stunning stable debut at Newbury, winning a handicap as it liked off 137 and is firmly in the ‘could be anything’ category. Have a decent win bet.
The Ladbrokes Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.55 sees Culture De Sivola return to the scene of its triumph a year ago to try for a repeat and is 7-2 so to do. However, we will oppose with each way bets on Molly Childers at 7-1 and Oscar Rose at 9-1, both of which have good chances of reversing previous form with the fav.
At 2.30 the Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase has, in the enforced absence of Altior, thrown up a decent bet in the shape of Capeland, trained by Paul Nicholls. A massive improver this season and easy winner of a handicap off 143 last time, the upward surge can continue – get on at 7-4.
And finally, the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at 3.05 can be safely left to the fragrant Venetia‘s runner Belami Des Pictons which suggested all the old ability is still there by finishing 4th in the BetVictor after a substantial lay-off.
9-4 are the odds of reward.
That’s it for a busy day.
Now off to learn all the lyrics of the latest global mega-hit “Stand Up If You Love The Darts”.
Didn’t take very long, then.
West Approach 2.50 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)
Prime Venture 2.50 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (5 places)
Whatswrongwithyou 1.05 Chepstow 2pts win @ 100-30
Tavus 1.35 Chepstow 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1
Acey Milan 2.10 Chepstow 4pts win @ 7-4
Clyne 2.10 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Fanion D’Estruval 1.20 Kempton 6pts win @ 5-4
Molly Childers 1.55 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Oscar Rose 1.55 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 9-1
Capeland 2.30 Kempton 6pts win @ 7-4
Belami Des Pictons 3.05 Kempton 4pts win @ 9-4