Elegant Escape Can Win Back-To-Back Welsh Nationals

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Elegant Escape

There are now Grand Nationals all around the UK and Elegant Escape is tipped to win the Welsh version for the second year in succession at Chepstow on Thursday. The supporting card features the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle for which Cerberus stands out on ratings. Meanwhile in Ireland, is the horse to back in the Grade 1 novice hurdle that provides pointers for similar races at the Festival in March.

There have been some ante post betting moves after racing at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Epatante and were good winners of the Christmas Hurdle and King George VI Chase. The former is now +400 with Bovada to win the and the latter is now +700 with Bovada to win the Gold Cup. was an impressive winner in Ireland and is quoted at +1200 with Bovada for the .

Elegant Escape is an outsider for the Gold Cup. The horse finished sixth in the race last year, beaten 26 lengths by the winner, Al Boum Photo. Elegant Escape carried 11-08 in the Welsh National last December and is set to carry four pounds more this time. On form and ratings the horse can justify favouritism over the marathon trip of three miles and six and a half furlongs. Elegant Escape is a thorough stayer who was a good third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last month. The horse has produced a career-best Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 167.

West Approach looks a big price at +1100 to beat the favourite but should be backed each way. There are 17 declared runners which means each way bets will be settled at one quarter the odds for four places with several bookmakers. The race is sponsored by Coral who are one of a number of bookmakers to offer one extra place. The downside is that West Approach is +1000 with that firm. Punters can take the bigger price and four payout places or the smaller price and an extra place.

His recent run at Cheltenham earned West Approach an RPR of 156 so the horse has several pounds to make up with Elegant Escape. On past form the horse is second best but only seventh in the betting. West Approach has produced some good runs over fences this season. The horse put in a decent effort at Cheltenham last time out. He is set to go up one pound in the weights for future races so looks to have a decent chance to chase home Elegant Escape in the Welsh National.

Cerberus is trained by Joseph Patrick O'Brien in Ireland and brings decent form to the juvenile hurdle at Chepstow (1.35). is ahead on ratings but there is plenty of room for improvement from Cerberus. The horse was a maiden on the Flat but has scored twice over hurdles, including in a Grade 3 race at Fairyhouse. Cerberus has won over the distance and wearing a tongue strap which he wears at Chepstow, he can put down a marker for the Triumph Hurdle with a clear cut win.

Only beat Blue Sari in the champion bumper at the Festival in March. The runner-up challenged strongly in the final furlong but Envoi Allen ran on and found something extra towards the finish. Envoi Allen has franked the form over hurdles this season so Blue Sari can prevail on Thursday at (1.45).

Abacadabras is the odd-on favourite and is trained by Gordon Elliott. Blue Sari can win the race for Willie Mullins and shorten for his chosen target at Cheltenham.

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