A new Grand National contender emerged over the Christmas period. Elegant Escape won the Welsh National at Chepstow to throw his hat into the ring. He is only six right now, so will be seven by the time we reach the feature even in April. And that means we could see him in the race for two, three maybe even four renewals. And that will certainly help him grow into a very popular stayer with fans of the sport.

He came away from the field to take the Welsh National in good fashion. He won by just over a length ahead of Ramses De Teillee. But beat the third place finisher, Yala Enki, by over five lengths and the fourth home, Rons Dream, by over 16 lengths. The way the front two pulled well clear suggests they are both well handicapped, and at such a young age, don’t be surprised to see Elegant Escape improve further.

He won the Welsh National off a mark of 151. Although he was already rated 155 before the run since finishing second in the Ladbrokes Trophy at the start of December. That is a mark high enough to get him into the Grand National with ease. However, if he ends up going into the 160’s, it would become very difficult as top weight, or near to it, could be on the cards.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the six-year-old run once more before a tilt at the Grand National. Although with three runs under his belt already this season, I don’t think we will see him any more than that. There is a chance that the Tizzard’s will keep him fresh and go straight to Aintree, but on his current form, Cheltenham may also be an option.

As far as the distance goes, the Welsh National course is 3m5f. That was the furthest we have seen Elegant Escape run over. He travelled very well into the race and he showed no signs of stopping towards the end. He has a very nice cruising speed but also looks full of stamina. Both important ticks in the Grand National boxes.

Elegant Escape has already shown this year that he can race and cruise with good three milers. He looks as though he will stay but seven year olds have a terrible record in the National. In fact, not one has won since Bogskar in 1940. So despite his excellent form, trainer Colin Tizzard may hold off on a run this year. The official list of entries comes out late this month so until then we will have to wait and see.

Bet365 have already given him ante-post odds of 20/1. That puts him as joint favourite with Tiger Roll, Native River, Bellshill and Vintage Clouds.