Welsh National Guide
The Welsh Grand National is a Grade 3 handicap chase, held at Chepstow Racecourse, near the Welsh/English border. It is held two days after Christmas on the 27th December, though due to unfavourable winter weather conditions, has occasionally been rescheduled for January.
At 3m 5f 110y, it is the shortest of the British Grand Nationals, but is half a furlong longer than the Irish Grand National, the official distance for which stands at 3m 5f exactly. The race is run left-handed, and requires 22 fences to be jumped by a maximum of 20 runners. It is unusual for a Grand National in that runners need only be four years old or more to race in it, although it seldom involves horses younger than six. The prize for winning the race stands at £85,425, from a total purse of £150,000.
As a handicap, the Welsh National relies on a system of weights allocated according to horses’ official handicap ratings, with the highest-rated horse in the field carrying top-weight of 11 stone 12 pounds. The bottom-weight depends on the handicap rating of the horses involved, relative to the top-weight, but is usually 10st at a minimum.
The race has been run annually (barring abandonments for bad weather, and during wartime) since 1895, and at Chepstow since 1949. Whilst the race is now very much a Christmas tradition, it was only moved to late December in 1979, with a rescheduling following snow. For the preceding ten years it had been run in February, and before that was traditionally held on Easter Tuesday.
Since the race started being held in late December, the quality of the runners has generally improved, as trainers seek an endurance test well in advance of the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National. Nowadays, it’s often seen as an indicator of Gold Cup potential for the best staying chasers, and the past ten renewals have seen both Synchronised (2010) and Native River (2016) go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in their following seasons, both being known for their stamina.
The Welsh National has also provided several Aintree Grand National winners, with Rag Trade, Corbiere, Earth Summit, Bindaree and Silver Birch amongst those to have won both.
Since 1949, only three horses have managed to win the race more than once. They are Limonali (1959, 1961), Bonanza Boy (1988, 1989) and, most recently, Mountainous (2013, 2015).
HEAVY GROUND SPECIALIST MOUNTAINOUS (PURPLE CAP) TAKES HIS SECOND VICTORY IN JANUARY 2016, UNDER JAMIE MOORE FOR TRAINER KERRY LEE
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL TOP TRAINER
Since 1949, ten trainers have managed multiple wins, the most prolific being Martin Pipe with five (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993). Several of those multiple winners are current trainers, with Colin Tizzard being the reigning Welsh National supremo, having saddled both Native River (2016) and Elegant Escape (2018) to win two of the past three renewals.
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL TOP JOCKEY
Since 1949, eleven jockeys have won the Welsh Grand National more than once, the record being four for Peter Scudamore, who teamed up with Martin Pipe on the latter three of those occasions (1985, 1988, 1989, 1991). Of those still riding, Richard Johnson (1999, 2016), Leighton Aspell (2001, 2005) and Tom O’Brien (2009, 2018) have all won the race twice. Aspell has also won the Aintree Grand National twice.
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL RACE CARD
The Welsh Grand National is a one-day meeting, which has seven races altogether. Technically, the race is not the highest quality competition on the card (although it may have the highest-rated horses), as there is also a Grade 1 held at Chepstow that day – the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle. There are also two fairly valuable Class 2 handicaps, a chase and a hurdle race, both open to horses aged four years and older.
The whole card is sponsored by Coral, who began their association with the feature race in 1973 – the longest-running sponsor partnership of any National Hunt race in the UK calendar.
ELEGANT ESCAPE (NUMBER 3) GIVING JOCKEY TOM O’BRIEN AND TRAINER COLIN TIZZARD THEIR SECOND WELSH NATIONAL VICTORIES IN 2018
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL BETTING
The Welsh Grand National is a very popular betting race, and comes at a time of year that’s packed with sports fixtures. With bookies vying for a share of the action, there are usually plenty of good quality betting offers and sign-up offers to be found on this race and meeting, particularly special offers on place terms, so shop around in advance. It’s usually shown on the free-to-air racing channel, currently ITV, and in recent years has also been shown on Attheraces – now Sky Sports Racing.
WELSH GRAND NATIONAL FREE BETS AND BETTING OFFERS
As such a popular betting race, there are often some great deals to be found with the bookmakers, including enhanced odds, bet-through-the-card and extra places offers.
You can find our top horse racing betting offer below, or head to our Free Bets page for sign-up deals from almost 30 bookmakers.
welsh GRAND NATIONAL TIPS
Want to know which horses Timeform’s expert tipsters are backing on Welsh National day? You can get free tips for every race, either on the Timeform website or app, in the form of the TV Tip Sheet, or choose to follow one of our profitable premium tipping services such as TV Focus, which picks out the best bets on all races televised on ITV Racing, or Horses To Follow Extra which offers expert advice and tips for the day’s big races. However you like to bet, Timeform has you covered with Welsh Grand National tips.
welsh GRAND NATIONAL LATEST NEWS, ODDS & RESULTS
Follow all the build up to the Welsh National on the News pages at Timeform. Whether you are after the latest betting odds, market movers, going updates and non-runners, plus the latest from the stables of the top horses, you’ll find it right here. Simply want to know which horse was first past the post? Then go to our Results page to get the latest Welsh Grand National day Results.