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Welsh Grand National: Dates, runners, history & more

Amongst the Christmas racing highlights in Britain is the Welsh Grand National, the centrepiece of the season at Chepstow and a traditionally gruelling contest.

It's one of the festive racing highlights and has been won by a future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner as recently as 2016.

This stamina-sapping Chepstow contest has a rich history and is one of Wales' most treasured sporting traditions.

Welsh Grand National date

The Welsh Grand National is scheduled to take place the day after Boxing Day each year - 27th December. With a prize fund usually close to £150,000, it is the biggest race of the year in Wales.

Welsh Grand National venue

The race has been held in this traditional Christmas slot at Chepstow since 1948. Situated just over the River Severn estuary in south-east Wales, Chepstow is an historic racecourse that stages action both on the Flat and over jumps all year round.

Chepstow is a left-handed, undulating, oval course, nearly two-miles round with 11 fences to a circuit, a five-furlong home straight, and a run-in of 250 yards. Conditions for the Welsh National can be notoriously testing.

Welsh Grand National how to watch

All the festive racing from Britain and Ireland, including the Welsh Grand National, is available to watch via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform.

The Welsh Grand National will be showcased on ITV Racing, while Sky Sports Racing will broadcast every race from Chepstow's big Christmas meeting.

Welsh Grand National details

Open to horses aged four years and older, the Welsh National is run over a trip of three-miles-six-and-a-half-furlongs and is a handicap race.

There are 23 obstacles to be cleared in the race, five of them in a gruelling home straight where things can often change dramatically.

Welsh Grand National history

Along with counterparts at Aintree, Ayr and Fairyhouse, the Chepstow contest forms one quarter of the major National prizes on offer across Britain and Ireland.

The Welsh Grand National is apart from the rest, being run in December, while the others all take place in the spring and that helps to make it a unique event.

Due to its place in the calendar, the race is susceptible to cancellation.

From 1969 through until 1996 the Welsh Grand National had to be abandoned on six occasions owing to a variety of adverse weather - snow, frost and waterlogging - while the race was run at Newbury in 1994.

Authorities now have the contingency plan of re-fixing for a date in January if they are forced to abandon at Christmas. The 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020 renewals were all run in January of the following year, ensuring the race is not lost.

Welsh Grand National most successful trainer

Legendary trainer Martin Pipe dominated the race in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He won the race five times in six years and saddled the first four to finish in 1992, when Run For Free led home stablemates Riverside Boy, Miinnehoma and Bonanza Boy.

Welsh Grand National most successful jockey

David Nicholson, after whom the Cheltenham Festival Mares' Hurdle is named, won three successive Welsh Grand Nationals in 1959, 1960 and 1961 on board Limonali ('59 & '61) and Clover Bud.

His three-in-a-row has yet to be matched, though Peter Scudamore has the most wins in the history of the race with four, scoring on Run And Skip in 1985, Bonanza Boy (1988 and 1989) and Carver's Hill in 1991.

Other two-time winning riders include Dick Francis, Terry Biddlecombe, John Francome, Richard Johnson and Leighton Aspell.

Welsh Grand National repeat winners

Limonali's two wins in three years for Nicholson was surpassed by Bonanza Boy in 1988/89 for Scudamore and legendary trainer Pipe, as he became the first and so far only horse to win successive Welsh Grand Nationals.

Only one other horse since has managed a repeat victory, with Mountainous scoring in 2013 and 2015, firstly for Richard Lee and then Kerry Lee.

Welsh Grand National famous winners

Synchronised won the Welsh National in 2010 for trainer Jonjo O'Neill and legendary rider AP McCoy, before going on to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2012.

The Colin Tizzard-trained Native River repeated that achievement, winning at Chepstow in 2016 and then in the Cotswolds in 2018 after a famous Gold Cup duel with Might Bite.

In 2017 the Gavin Cromwell-trained Raz De Maree won the race, famously carrying jockey James Bowen to glory at the tender age of 16 - the youngest rider ever to win the race.

What is the record of Welsh-trained horses in the Welsh Grand National?

Until recently it was quite poor, with 1973 Deblin's Green for trainer George Yardley held up as the most recent home-trained winner all the way through until 2019, when Potters Corner obliged for Christian Williams.

The home team duly had their fire re-ignited and victories for Evan Williams' Secret Reprieve in 2020 and the Sam Thomas-trained Iwilldoit in 2021 helped Welsh trainers complete a hat-trick of wins.

Welsh Grand National Runners

Home hopes are led by Jamie Snowden's 13/2 chance Super Survivor, a winner at this meeting last Christmas as a novice.

Autonomous Cloud is the current 9/2 favourite, with Nassalam 6/1 for trainer Gary Moore and former winner Iwilldoit available at 9/1 to win the race.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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