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Boxing day was a tough one for me, getting runner-up on three different occasions, but none of them really looked like winning. Monday is another cracking day of racing, but I'm not getting too involved, with just the one selection in the Welsh Grand National.
The big race of the day comes from the Welsh track Chepstow, as they host their Welsh Grand National. Unfortunately, this year they are running it behind closed doors, due to the recent spike in cases. However, the positive is that the race and meeting is still in tact, and we can watch it from the comforts of our homes.
This years renewal is stacked like it is every year, and I'm siding with a previous winner of the race with ELEGANT ESCAPE. This lad doesn't get the credit he deserves. On his day, he is a top class horse, but he is best seen to effect in handicaps off big weights, as he can race against lower opposition. When he has been tried in Graded company off level weights, he finds it too hard, as he doesn't quite have the class as the top horses, but he is still very capable, and still a relatively young horse at the age of 9. His current handicap mark of 156 makes him very eye-catching in my opinion, as he has been rated as high as 162 at his best, and that came on the back of a 2nd placed finish to Frodon back in 2019, which goes to show the level he was running at. He managed to win this race back in 2019 off a mark of 151, so this year should be tougher to win as he is 5lb heavier in the weights. However, he is carrying 6lbs less in the actual race, due to Native River carrying top weight, which has resulted in the rest carrying lower weights, which should make Elegant Escape's time of things easier.
The selection is a horse who stays longer than the in-laws, and will love the ground conditions which Chepstow has to offer today. He has always been a horse who plugs on over 3m, and seems like a horse who needed that extra half a mile or plus, but at the top level that is hard to come by, other than this race in particular, where you would have to carry a very big weight when you're as high in the handicap as this lad is, but if there was ever a race tailor-made for him, it's this. He's had a nice prep run for this, which was a 2m outing which would've blown away the cobwebs, as this was always the plan for the start of the season. The fact that Brendan Powell Jr rides Native River instead of Elegant Escape isn't a concern, as I expected that to happen, as he is a previous Gold Cup winner.
There are many places on offer from various bookmakers, so make sure you take advantage of those.
17:30 Newcastle - Race: 4
18:00 Newcastle - Race: 5
18:30 Newcastle - Race: 6