The Welsh Grand National – A Look Back

The feature race of the Welsh racing season traditionally takes place on the 27th December each year and has long been considered a hugely prestigious race with many previous winners going on to do great things. Run over three and three-quarter miles, it has proven to be one of the truest, classiest stamina tests of the season and has supported some brilliant horses that have gone on to win the sports most well estbalished races.

The first deserving of a mention is the Paul Nicholls’ trained Silver Birch, who won the race in 2004 before crossing the Irish channel and landing with a then up and coming Gordon Elliot. Under his tutelage Silver Birch went on to win the biggest race in the National Hunt calendar as he landed the 2008 Grand National.

The 2010 winner Synchronised, oozed class at the Welsh track with then Champion Jockey AP McCoy on board. He would go onto compete in the Cheltenham Gold Cup two years later and win the magnificent trophy, a first Gold Cup victory for prominent owner J. P. McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

The race is continually well supported by national hunt trainers from around the country but in more recent years its West Country based trainer Colin Tizzard who has had success with some of his equine stars, not least Gold Cup hero Native River who won the race back in 2016. The superstar famed for his eye-catching yellow, purple and red silks would go onto win the Gold Cup, the Cheltenham Festival’s biggest prize only two years later in an epic battle with the Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite.

A year later, the script was re-written as Raz De Maree landed the race as a 13-year-old, a history making moment as the eldest horse to have ever won the race was joined by 16-year-old James Bowen, the youngest jockey to land the significant handicap.

The 2018 renewal was again won by Colin Tizzard-trained Elegant Escape, who not so elegantly romped through some testing conditions and away from his rivals last December. Only a 6-year-old, he showed plenty of class to become the youngest horse to win the race at a joint record top weight of 11 stone 12.

This year’s market is led yet again by the Dorset-based trainer as Elegant Escape looks to win the race in back-to-back years, a feat never achieved before in the history of the race.

Furthermore, this year may see the three most recent winners of the Welsh Grand National as all three remain in a list of high-quality entries for the race.

Whatever happens, it will certainly be a spectacle worth tuning into on ITV for.

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