Dartnall has grounds for optimism

  • Last Updated: January 1 2013, 13:53 GMT

Victor Dartnall is hoping Giles Cross can overcome the lack of a prep run when he tries to win the Coral Welsh National at the third attempt at Chepstow on Saturday.

Giles Cross: Third time lucky?

The 11-year-old has been runner-up in the last two renewals of the valuable handicap chase and had made one previous racecourse appearance the same season on both occasions.

However, with Dartnall's North Devon stables having closed for a few weeks due to an outbreak of equine herpes, Giles Cross goes straight to Chepstow for his first run of the campaign.

Dartnall believes that will not he a handicap as he has got plenty of work into his prolific stayer, who has won first time out in the past.

"He seems very well," said the trainer.

"It would have been great for him to have had a prep run - he hasn't had one, but he's had a lot of work. It should be his ground."

Jadanli is another who enjoys plenty of cut in the ground and his trainer Paul Gilligan has had this race in mind for some time.

Winner of the Grade One Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in 2010, Jadanli has had three runs in the last couple of months on his return since he finished third in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran last January.

"That's the plan, we intend going. Our horse will love the ground. I've been setting him aside all year for this race and hopefully now he might get into the money there," said the Athenry handler.

"I'm happy with him and he should run well.

"At the moment Alain Cawley rides him, all being well. He's doing well across the water and he's local to me here at home."

Giles Cross and Jadanli both seem certain to get the testing conditions traditionally associated with the marathon contest.

The race should have taken place last week but was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

While the course is not yet raceable, the weather is at last drying up and clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is confident the rescheduled meeting will go ahead.

"It's a beautiful day and the first time we've seen the sun for three weeks," he said.

"It will dry out. It will be a slow process at first and we may possibly get a shower tomorrow, but it is looking mainly dry with sunny spells and mild temperatures through to Saturday.

"Looking at that, unless there are any major changes in the weather outlook for the next four days, we should be raceable.

"It will be heavy, very soft ground, but you would only expect that in a Welsh National. I'd say we'll be safe and in good shape and ready to race by then.

"We've had just over 260 millimetres of rain in December, that's more than a quarter of the annual rainfall, and that is on top of record rainfall throughout the summer and autumn.

"It's just unbelievable the rain we had last month, but hopefully now with a few days like this we will be back on track, literally."