Kicking off the series of Grand Nationals for the 2019/20 National Hunt season will be the Coral Welsh National. Scheduled to take place at Chepstow Racecourse on Friday, December 27th, 2019, the race has attracted 61 entries this year. There are plenty of fan favorites as well as some potential Grand National 2020 runners. So who looks good for the Welsh National?

Firstly, over the next few weeks, the 61 entries will eventually get whittled down to just 20 runners – the maximum allowed to run in the race. They will have to navigate 22 fences over the course which runs at 3m5½f, so consistent, fluid jumping and stamina are a must. And given the notoriously awful British weather, they will no doubt have to contend with soft or heavy going on the day. If they can manage all of that, then they are in with a chance of walking away with the winning purse of £85,425.

Interestingly, this year’s Coral Welsh National has received entries from no less than 40 different trainers. This is in complete contrast to the Aintree Grand National when some trainers absolutely dominant the entries and the eventual runners. The largest set of contenders comes from trainer Colin Tizzard. He has won two of the last three renewals with Native River in 2016 and Elegant Escape last year. Both are entered again.

In terms of the quality of entrants, Native River is the highest rated on 167. He is followed by stablemate Elegant Escape (160) and Ballyoptic from Nigel Twiston-Davies (159). After them comes the Trevor Hemmings owned Lake View Lad and the Paul Nicholls trained Yala Enki.

Yala Enki – Change Of Trainer

Grand National fans may recognise Yala Enki who was previously trained by Venetia Williams. That trainer transfer is very recent and only went through on October 30th. Whether or not Nicholls can improve on Yala Enki’s third-place finish in last year’s Coral Welsh National remains to be seen.

He has, however, entered him into the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury this weekend so we will get to see him before he heads to Chepstow. The good news is that jockey Bryony Frost has already been confirmed for Yala Enki this weekend. If she has a solid race then we could very well see her renew her partnership at Chepstow.

Truckers Lodge – Welsh National Favourite

In terms of the Welsh National favourite, Truckers Lodge is topping the market across most of the bookmakers. As short as 8/1, the Paul Nicholls trained 7-year-old is in good form. He is also a frequent visitor to Chepstow so he knows the course well. However, he has far more experience over hurdles and has never won at more than 2m7½f.

That shouldn’t necessarily put anybody off having a bet on him as he is a confirmed stayer. In the right conditions, this could very well be his race.

Give Me A Copper – Out To Prove Himself

Anybody who frequently reads my musings on this website will know that when Give Me A Copper was entered in the Grand National last season, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. At the point of entry in January, he’d only been over fences twice. He had pulled up in one and won the other – which was an actual two-horse race.

By the time the National rolled around, he had a couple more runs under his belt. Unfortunately one of them was a fall in the Ultima at Cheltenham. Thankfully connections saw fit to bypass Aintree in favour of the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown where he placed fourth. With a break over the summer, he returned this season victorious in the Badger Beer Trophy at Wincanton. So now his prospects are looking a lot better. Especially as he may also run in the Becher Chase first. If he can continue his good form, he could well be in with a shout in the Coral Welsh National.

Full List of 2019 Coral Welsh National Entries

  • Ami Desbois
  • Arthur’s Gift
  • Ballyoptic
  • Bennys King
  • Big River
  • Blow By Blow
  • Bobo Mac
  • Burtons Well
  • Captain Cattistock
  • Captain Chaos
  • Cloudy Morning
  • Commodore
  • Coningsby
  • Crievehill
  • Daklondike
  • Elegant Escape
  • Field Exhibition
  • Get On The Yager
  • Give Me A Copper
  • Goodtoknow
  • Graceful Legend
  • Impulsive Star
  • Joe Farrell
  • Johanos
  • Joueur Bresilien
  • Keeper Hill
  • Kilfilum Cross
  • Kings Monarch
  • La Cavsa Nostra
  • Lake View Lad
  • Lil Rockerfeller
  • Looks Like Power
  • Mala Beach
  • Midnight Tune
  • Milansbar
  • Mister Malarky
  • Mister Whitaker
  • Native River
  • Now McGinty
  • Pobbles Bay
  • Polydora
  • Pop Rockstar
  • Potters Corner
  • Potters Legend
  • Prime Venture
  • Rathlin Rose
  • Raz De Maree
  • Robinsfirth
  • Rock The Kasbah
  • Space Cadet
  • Steely Addition
  • The Kings Writ
  • The Two Amigos
  • The Welsh Paddies
  • Truckers Lodge
  • Vintage Clouds
  • Virginia Chick
  • West Approach
  • Weststreet
  • Wild West Wind
  • Yala Enki