The rearranged Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (2.05) takes centre stage on a cracking day of action tomorrow.
I’m very keen on the chances of Mysteree here for trainer Michael Scudamore, who landed his prize five years ago with Monbeg Dude, and he could take some stopping with underfoot conditions in his favour.
As we’ve come to expect, the Chepstow showpiece will be a severe test of stamina, with the going currently heavy and further showers forecast before the weekend, and a slog in the mud will be right up Mysteree’s street, if the meeting gets the go-ahead.
The 10-year-old, pictured above right, has a superb record when fresh, winning on his seasonal reappearance for three of the past four years, and connections appear to have had this race in mind ever since his excellent second in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter back in March, which came just three weeks after a fine success in the gruelling Eider Chase at Newcastle over four miles.
Despite flirting with running at Cheltenham earlier in December, Scudamore sensibly opted to wait for this test and off a mark of 138 he remains well handicapped to scoop this big pot in South Wales.
Over at Sandown, the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (3.00) is the final race in the excellent Veterans’ Chase series and Ian Williams’ Gas Line Boy should have too much class for his 14 rivals.
Now a 12-year-old, having formerly been with both Philip Hobbs and Jim Best, Gas Line Boy has enjoyed a real revival over the past 13 months, landing a competitive Veterans race at Kelso before running a cracker in the Grand National, finishing fifth despite being hampered two out and squeezed for room when looking to land a blow at the final fence.
He returned to Liverpool in October and looked set to make amends prior to coming down three out, but responded in fine style in the Grand Sefton last month, driven out to comfortably beat some decent yardsticks off a mark of 142.
A 6lb rise seems very fair given the recent record of his terrific trainer and – with Brian Hughes booked to ride – Gas Line Boy can land what looks an easier race than he won at Aintree.
Finally, back down at Chepstow in the Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (1.35) it could be worth chancing Sussex Ranger for Gary Moore.
The four-year-old looks one of the better juveniles this side of the Irish Sea so far this season, putting up a fine display to win at Sandown in December, tanking through the race and jumping slick throughout.
Sussex Ranger also put up a good performance on the clock that day and may be underestimated going into the second-half of the season.