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Friday, 8 January 2016

Coral Welsh National - Chepstow Saturday 9th 13:45

The Coral Welsh National, run over 3 miles 5½ furlongs at Chepstow, places unusually strenuous demands on horse and rider, so it’s no surprise that the has produced no winning favourite in the last ten years and winners at 20/1 (twice), 16/1 and 14/1 in that period. The going at Chepstow is already heavy so, with more rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, finishers could be few and far between.

Portrait King (33/1) is accumulating some uninspiring form figures, but is blessed with an abundance of stamina and was in the process of running a decent race when falling at the second last in the Betfred Becher Chase, over 3 miles 2 furlongs, at Aintree five weeks ago. He’s obviously not getting any younger at the age of eleven, but is only 1lb higher in the weights than when winning the Betfred Eider, over an extended 4 miles, at Ayr as a seven-year-old and has winning form on heavy going.

Allez Vic (40/1) hasn’t exactly pulled up and trees lately, but arguably ran as well as he ever has over fences when beaten three-quarters of a length by Cogry in a novices’ handicap chase, over 2 miles 7½ furlongs on heavy going, at Chepstow just over a year ago and is reasonably treated if capable of reproducing anything like that form. Evan Williams’ ten-year-old is 8lb higher in the weights, but 1lb better off with Cogry, so may be worth chancing at generous odds.

Bob Ford (16/1) is becoming the definitive ‘all or nothing’ horse, but stays all day and relishes testing conditions, so must have a decent chance if in the same mood as when winning over 3 miles 1½ furlongs at Ffos Las last month. A 4lb penalty for that success seems fair enough and Sean Bowen has an enviable 36% strike rate over fences for Rebecca Curtis.

Selections: Chepstow 1.45 Portrait King, Allez Vic, Bob Ford

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