KNOCKIN’ AT EVAN’S DOOR

All meetings today have passed their inspections, which means no less than ten races on the box, from three different courses.

Main event at Chepstow is the Coral Welsh Grand National at 3.10, which has a field of 18 and is, as usual, impossible to sort out – or is it?

It’s an open secret that winning this race is a life-long ambition of Evan Williams and today might just be the day the dream is fulfilled.

In Secret Reprieve, EW has a horse that appears to tick all the boxes, having won the trial for this race by a facile 12 lengths, on true ‘Chepstow Heavy‘, which appertains to the going this afternoon.

The race conditions mean that this 7-y-o can run off 8lbs less than in future races and the trainer is confident that his pet will get the extra yardage, so, although well found in the market, we recommend a bet at 7-2.

Mr Williams also has another good chance with his other runner Prime Venture, a horse that reserves its best for this track and finished 4th in the race last year. The warm up race resulted in an easy win at Sedgefield, leading us to recommend an each way tickle at 10-1.

If there is to be a party pooper, it could be called Springfield Fox, a likely improver for which this race has been a long-term plan, so it makes sense to back this one each way as well. 8-1 are the odds of reward.

The other televised race in Wales is the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at 1.25, which has a short priced favourite in Nassalam at 11-10.

Gary Moore‘s youngster has taken the fields apart in both runs for the yard since coming over from France and is probably a worthy jolly, but we are going to suggest a modest each way bet on Yggdrasil at a more artisan 12-1.

Although named after a Norse tree, Nick Williams‘ gelding showed it wasn’t one with an impressive racecourse debut in a Class 2 event at Sandown, finishing stylishly into third. Starting a horse off at that level is either fanciful or indicative of something special, so having its second race in a Grade 1 may not be as mad as it seems.

Five races are being televised from Kempton, kicking off with the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at 1.10. We advise ‘dutching’ this race with a win bet on last year’s winner Erick Le Rouge at 100-30 and an each way bet on The Bay Birch at 8-1. That should cover it.

The Ladbrokes…Handicap Chase at 1.45 looks at the mercy of Two For Gold, which should be backed at 7-2.

The Relkeel Hurdle at 2.20 sees the return to action of McFabulous, which has been installed at 11-10. May very well win, but we suggest a minor punt on the only female in the race Indefatigable at 16-1.

Paul Webber‘s 8-y-o doesn’t have a whole lot to find on official ratings and could well outrun her odds under the great Ritchie.

The Ladbrokes Silvianaco Conti Chase at 2.55 is best left to Imperial Aura, but at 5-6 we are ‘no bet’.

The Labrokes Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at 3.30 has a maximum field of 20 at which we will throw three darts.

Glynn from the Henderson yard is first – a completely unexposed 7-y-o after just two runs under rules – take the 7-1 available.

Two ‘rags’ we think might run above themselves are our other picks – Dhowin at 16-1 and Boreham Bill at a derisory 80-1 – you heard it here first.

Down at Wincanton two of the races have an uncompetitive look about them with a shortie in each, so we will content ourselves with a bet in the MansionBet Handicap Chase at 3.45.

In this race we like the look of Gardefort, trained by the fragrant Venetia. If you go back far enough, this spritely 11-y-o won a Class 2 chase over this CD off a mark of 139 – not that good nowadays, but good enough to have a good shout off today’s mark of 124. Have a win bet at 4-1 please.

A darkened room beckons.

Summary:

Secret Reprieve 3.10 Chepstow 3pts win @ 7-2

Prime Venture 3.10 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (6 places Paddy/Skybet)

Springfield Fox 3.10 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (6 places Paddy/Skybet)

Yggdrasil 1.25 Chepstow 1pt e/w @ 12-1

Erick Le Rouge 1.10 Kempton 2pts win @ 100-30

The Bay Birch 1.10 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 8-1

Two For Gold 1.45 Kempton 2pts win @ 7-2

Indefatigable 2.20 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (3 places Paddy)

Glynn 3.30 Kempton 1.5pts e/w @ 7-1 (5 places)

Dhowin 3.30 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (5 places)

Boreham Bill 3.30 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 80-1 (5 places William Hill)

Gardefort 3.45 Wincanton 2pts win @ 4-1

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