There hasn’t been a winner of the Welsh Grand National who has gone on to win the Grand National at Aintree in the same season. Binadaree (2003) and Silver Birch (2004) have won both races this century but in different seasons. Secret Reprieve is now 25/1 to win the Aintree Grand National after an impressive win in the Welsh version at Chepstow.
Secret Reprieve was thrown in at the weights and won the Welsh Grand National like a handicap good thing. The win was achieved despite the horse’s girth coming undone and the saddle slipping back alarmingly but otherwise there was little doubt about the result in the home straight. Trainer Evan Williams’ gelding will get a hike in the weights which will be required to get a run in the National.
The second Welsh-trained winner of the Chepstow’s biggest race has only run in six chases so is more about potential than proven ability on the track. However, he got the three miles and six furlongs trip and the extra distance of the Aintree marathon should not be an issue.
There is one Grand National trend that counts against Secret Reprieve. No seven-year-old has won the race since 1940. It will the first experience of the fences but the trainer has a good record in preparing chasers for the unique test. Secret Reprieve is progressive and a good jumper. As a novice, the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is an option and that could be a good prep and trial for the most famous steeplechase in the world.
The other placed runner to take out of the Welsh National is Paul Nicholls’ Yala Enki who ran a huge race with Bryony Frost on board off topweight. He jumped well and was always prominent. Yala Enki finished third, three-and-a-quarter lengths adrift of Secret Reprieve, carrying 25 pounds more than the winner. BetVictor are the biggest price for the National at 50/1.
Other horses staking a claim recently include Yorkhill, who has won championship novices’ races over hurdles and fences at the Cheltenham Festival. The former Willie Mullins-trained 11-year-old lost his way and there has been a change of owner and trainer. Yorkhill came back to winning form in a handicap chase over almost three miles for trainer Sandy Thomson at Newcastle in November. Quotes of 50/1 to win the National look big for this Grade 1 winner.
Potters Corner won the virtual Grand National in 2020. A simulation cannot replicate real race conditions but if that bit of fun has any bearing at all, it perhaps shows that Potters Corner ticks many statistical boxes. Paddy Power go 33/1 for a winner of the Welsh and Midlands Grand Nationals, who is proven over extreme distances.
Presenting Percy, Melon and Santini can all be backed at around 33/1. They are Gold Cup-class horses who could be allocated decent handicap marks. Grade 1 chase winners have been given a chance by the handicapper in recent years but Tiger Roll has been too difficult to beat in 2018 and 2019. The two-time National winner is as short as 16/1 but the veteran 11-year-old could be vulnerable to a younger horse running off a competitive weight at Aintree in April.