The Welsh Grand National is always one of the festive highlights and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway returns with his best bets on the December 27th card at Chepstow.
The 2m31/2f handicap chase (1.05) is a competitive race but it will take a smart performance to stop Enzo D’Airy if he can reproduce the form he showed when winning here last time out.
The eight-year-old returned from 653 days off the track and kept on strongly to land a handicap chase over course and distance by half a length from Dalamoi.
The front two pulled 15 lengths clear of the remainder in a good time for the grade and a 6lb rise is far from harsh.
That is the second time he has run well over fences at this course as he was a good third here in November 2020 and it appears he is suited by the undulating nature of this quirky track.
This will be only his seventh run over fences and his 14th start overall, so there should be plenty of further improvement to come from this unexposed chaser and the Venetia Williams string is back in top form.
It will be disappointing if Enzo D’Airy can’t land a follow up win.
The Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (2.50) often goes to a horse with plenty of form at the course and Pats Fancy comes into that category. He might be capable of stepping up.
The Rebecca Curtis-trained seven-year-old won twice over 2m71/2f at this track last season and on both occasions he beat horses who went on to frank the form in subsequent outings.
Pats Fancy took care of classy Ultima runner-up and Coral Gold Cup third Gericault Roque when scoring here last December and next time out he beat Imperial Alcazar at this course.
That looks red-hot form when you consider Imperial Alcazar won at Cheltenham next time.
This will have been the long-term target since those two wins and Pats Fancy had a nice prep run for this when sent back hurdling at the track 24 days ago.
He came home well beaten, but wasn’t given a hard time once his chance had gone and should improve plenty for the outing.
Curtis has never won the Welsh Grand National, but she has had plenty of success with staying chasers like Pats Fancy down the years and he looks tailor-made for this race.
I’ve already outlined the case for Enzo D’Airy in the 2m31/2f handicap chase (1.05) and it’s worth sticking with that line of form and backing Dalamoi, who was second to Enzo D’Airy over 2m31/2f at the track last time and can improve significantly for the step up to 2m71/2f in the 3.25.
Dalamoi had thrashed subsequent winner Quick Draw on his previous start at Kempton and he pushed Enzo D’Airy all the way to the line last time.
He lost out by half a length, but the front two pulled 15 lengths clear of the well-handicapped Not Available in an excellent time.
The handicapper has stepped in with a 5lb rise and Dalamoi has to race off a career-high mark of 130, but he is totally unexposed after just two starts over fences and the step up to this distance promises to bring further improvement from the Tim Vaughan-trained runner.
A brief look at Dalamoi’s pedigree confirms he is bred to improve for this trip. Four of his half-siblings stayed at least 3m and his sire, Pour Moi, is quite a strong stamina influence.