There are many great races throughout the year, and whilst the Welsh Grand National isn’t up there with the very best, it’s one that attracts a lot of attention.
It’s undoubtedly one of the highlights over the Christmas period for all racing fans, and that is sure to be the case once again on December 27. Even though the field is yet to be finalised, there will be some great horses, trainers and jockeys involved as they look to compete for the £150,000 purse available in the Grade 3 handicap steeplechase.
There is a hope this year that Elegant Escape could be back, and the Irish horse will be looking to replicate the success that it enjoyed back in 2018. That was a memorable race for trainer Colin Tizzard as the eight-year-old horse delivered on the expectation, winning a competitive race as the 3/1 favourite.
Elegant Escape has won the 2018 Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 27, 2018
However, since that victory, things haven’t really gone to plan for Elegant Escape and you could argue suitable progress hasn’t been made over what is nearly two years.
Hopes of making history by becoming the first horse to win back-to-back Welsh Nationals in 30 years were dashed as a disappointing sixth-place finish followed. That came almost a year ago and it was the catalyst for further setbacks in 2020.
Back in February, the horse pulled up in a 3m 4f 97y race at Haydock, which were trials for the Grand National. Then, Elegant Escape came in 11th place at the Gold Cup in Cheltenham. In fairness, it should be stated that there wasn’t much hope of a victory in such a talented race, with the horse starting as a 66/1 huge outsider.
Nevertheless, the winless run continued, so a potential return to Chepstow could be exactly what’s needed.
As mentioned, it’s a course that the horse and the trainer know well, with the 2018 success showing Elegant Escape at its best.
Ridden by Tom O’Brien, the favourite looked comfortable throughout and put on a late charge to ensure that the strong Ramses De Teillee was seen off by just over a length. The ground that day was soft, but the usual heavy surface that comes at Chepstow should also be something that Elegant Escape can thrive in.
Of course, given the calibre of the race, it won’t be at all easy for Tizzard to mastermind another success. However, a quick glance at the latest horse racing betting odds shows that Elegant Escape is still well regarded and it would start as one of the favourites once again on the day, with around 14/1 currently available.
The Welsh Grand National is off at 2.50 at Chepstow. Could there be a first Welsh trained winner since 1965? Listen live with @CorneliusRacing and @HuntyCaller here:https://t.co/wDME5WHj0x pic.twitter.com/RudTTUeJNx
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) December 27, 2019
Having failed to kick on, trying to win a second Welsh National in three could be a turning point for Elegant Escape moving forward.
Even though it won’t be the second successive win that would’ve carved the horse into the record books, it would be a great marker to put down. Ending the long run without a win for the talented Elegant Escape could be the signal to a much more productive 2021 for the horse and trainer Tizzard.