3m6½f Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Three of the previous six renewals have been won by the favourite, however Quick Wave‘s performances may have slightly overhyped her ability and odds of 9/2 feel very skinny for a mare that tends to run her best off a long layoff.
The race looks a lot weaker than recent years with several entrants getting taken out with the ground very unsually racing on the quick side for this time at year at Chepstow. That may throw a lot of recent trends out the window.
THE GALLOPING BEAR was a late starter to the National Hunt sphere. He was highly impressive as a PTP racer and got his first start over fences in February 2021. Trained by a small yard of Ben Clarke’s, he’s effectively won four out of his four chase starts. The key to him is soft or heavy ground alongside a stamina-sapping test. Both of those criteria tend to underline the Welsh Grand National and if the rain comes as forecast early in the morning then he should be bang there.
The Galloping Bear was due to run in this race last season however was pulled out due to scoping badly before it. He warmed up with a prep run over the course and has had a similar treatment this year with a run over hurdles at Carlisle last month giving him the ideal prep.
His last start over fences came when beating Bristol De Mai in a slow-motion finish in bottomless ground at Haydock in the Grand National trial last February (later disqualified for a banned substance). The Galloping Bear is a relentless galloper, a fairly sound jumper and he must be in the mix racing off the same mark of 140 as from his last unofficial win when he was raised 7lbs higher.
The Big Dog must have a massive chance, but it’ll take some performance to win a Munster National, Troytown and Welsh National in the space of two months. Pats Fancy already has two win to his name at Chepstow over three miles and will enjoy soft going conditions, but his comeback run was too bad to be true and I can’t follow him here.
ASK ME EARLY has a great record here at Chepstow and is one of the few runners near the top of the market who is genuinely versatile as regards the ground conditions. He was favourite for this race last year and has been campaigned with this race in mind for some time by trainer Harry Fry.
A mark of 138 looks bang on for this race and his prominent front-running style should be an asset in this contest. Both selections have run here before with Ask Me Early coming out on top in gd-sft conditions at Chepstow last year. His seasonal reappearance in a handicap at Bangor was a solid comeback run behind the subsequent Coral Gold Cup winner Le Milos and he is entitled to come on significantly for the run.
1pt win The Galloping Bear @6/1, 14:50 Chepstow, Tuesday
1pt win Ask Me Early @7/1, 14:50 Chepstow, Tuesday