A real favourite for National Hunt fixtures, Chepstow is a picturesque track set in the heart of the Wye Valley in Monmouthshire. It’s one of only three racecourses in Wales along with Banger-on-Dee and Ffos Las. While the course itself is somewhat basic, the undulations along the way make this a stiff test of stamina, particularly on soft ground.
The complete circuit is an oval-shaped two-mile track and is run left-handed for both flat and jump racing. The changing gradients of the one mile flat racecourse prevent this from really suiting gallopers and front runners. After a downhill opening the track then features two to three undulations en-route to the finish line which force jockeys to bide their time and change up the gears.
The feature race of the calendar is the Coral Welsh Grand National, which is hosted over the Christmas holiday season. The Grade 3 National Hunt chase is run over 3m5f with 22 fences to be jumped. It’s almost always guaranteed to be a heavy slog for staying chasers and many stables use this as a testing ground for the Aintree Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Recent winners of both the Welsh and the Aintree Grand National include Bindaree and Silver Birch. Meanwhile, the 2010 winner, Synchronised eventually went on to take the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Geegeez says: “Chepstow is a track for specialists; both in terms of jockeys and thoroughbreds. Some of the undulations along the course are big enough to unbalance big gallopers, meaning those well-balanced, agile types tend to prevail best around here.
“It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that the winners of the Welsh Grand National will almost certainly fall in price for the Aintree Grand National, so as a back-to-lay move be prepared to strike quickly on the Antepost.”
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