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The Welsh Grand National was only completed by five runner yesterday, and it looked crucial to be carrying a light weight, as nearly every single completion was made by a horse who carried close to bottom weight.
Elegant Escape had a good go, but struggled in the last 5-6 furlongs or so where he didn't have the pace to go with the lighter horses.
An early selection, which comes in the opener of the Leicester card at the back end of the morning. ANNIES PRAYER is the one I'm going with in this, and I was with him last time he ran, which was an encouraging run on handicap debut, with more likely to come now he's up in trip.
He is a notebook/tracker horse, who caught my eye when running a decent 3rd behind a smart flat horse come jumper in Alqamar, who destroyed the novice race, but Annies Prayer ran well to finish 3rd that day, and I thought that he looked like a horse who would kickstart his career when he entered handicaps.
He made his handicap debut at Newcastle earlier this month, which resulted in a 4th placed finish. He eventually finished 4.75L behind the winner, but to my eye, it looked like he needed further, which is why it's not a surprise to see the extra half a mile today. There is also a strong possibility that he needed the run. That was his first run in 198 days, and with the Candlish yard looking out of form, that definitely seems a possibility, so hopefully he'll strip fitter today.
This doesn't look a strong race in particular, so siding with an unexposed type is always the way forward in my opinion. He has been dropped a pound by the handicapper, which means he is now rated 96, which is low and he should be better than that.
It's quite rare that you see a racehorse making his rules debut at the age of 7, even in the jumps sphere, but CROSSING LINES does that, and appears to be one who could be worth following.
This race has a couple who set the standards, with Moonlight Flit & Jet Plane running to marks around the mid 110s according to RPRs. Those are decent numbers, but they're not out of the ordinary, and it wouldn't be impossible for a horse to beat them on debut, especially a horse like Crossing Lines who made quite the impression in the PTP ranks in Ireland. The selection won 2 of his 3 starts when racing in points, with his most recent win racking up an RPR of 106, which is some going, and is very rare you see numbers like achieved.
To put it into perspective, the likes of Envoi Allen got a RPR of 94 from his sole point & Faugheen got 90, with other previous top notchers not getting near that kind of rating. It should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but he clearly has ability, and at the current odds on offer, I think he is worth a chance against the two market toppers.
He stays 3m well, which should definitely be an advantage in what will appear to be testing and stamina sapping conditions at Leicester. My slight concern is the time off the track, as he's not been seen in over two years. That suggests that he's had issues, so he might need this run, but like I said I think he is worth a chance.