Value in Viking for Welsh test
David John makes his Value Bet selection from Saturday's Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.
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"He is crying out for this trip," tends to be an ill-thought-out statement from trainers ahead of the Welsh National.
As we continue to plough through one of the wettest winters in recent history, Saturday's Chepstow contest remains just about the daddy of them all when it comes to pushing a horse's reserves to its limits.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Viking Blond found that out to be the case 12 months ago when pulled up behind Le Beau Bai but another season on his back to mature could make a big difference.
He was sent off as the 6/1 favourite for last year's renewal after a promising start to his novice campaign over fences but found things all too much as he started to beat a hasty retreat mid-race.
But the market clearly suggested he was capable of winning an event of this nature and after a couple of promising comeback runs this term at Cheltenham, he looks to be primed and at the peak of his powers.
He can actually run in the race this year off a mark five pounds lower and although my first worry is that his natural exuberence could find him out up the home straight, the way he kept on stoutly over almost three and a half miles behind Monbeg Dude at Cheltenham in November, suggests he does have the necessary stamina ahead of his second bid for glory.
His trainer has at times in the past suffered a dip in form at this time of year but has sent out three winners since Boxing Day while the more I see his son Sam in the saddle, the more I am impressed.
I think that favourite Teaforthree is very short indeed - don't just take my word for that, so does his rider AP McCoy - while a fair chunk of the field is made up of admirable veterans past their best or dubious stayers.
A brutal test awaits the runners and the advice is a small win wager on Viking Blond at 9/1 with bet365.