Coral Welsh National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase) 3m 5f 110y

  • (5yo+, 3m 5f 110y, Class 1, 17 runners)
  • Winner £51,255 2nd £19,233 3rd £9,630 4th £4,797 5th £2,412 6th £1,206
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 7m 56.10s
  • Off time: 15:21:11
Full result
Result 15:20 Chepstow
Pos Horse Distance/th> Odds
1st 13 Monbeg Dude 10/1
2nd 3 Teaforthree ½ 11/4f
3rd 12 Triggerman 11 50/1
4th 18 Arbor Supreme 33/1
  • Last Updated: January 5 2013, 9:47 GMT

Teaforthree's part-owner Nigel Roddis believes Saturday will be the day of reckoning for his horse as he attempts to justify ante-post favouritism for the Coral Welsh National.

Teaforthree: Ante-post favourite
Teaforthree: Ante-post favourite

Trainer Rebecca Curtis has long planned this rescheduled Chepstow marathon for last season's National Hunt Chase hero and his odds have hardened with the booking of champion jockey Tony McCoy.

After an encouraging comeback at Cheltenham in November, Teaforthree was most recently seen finishing sixth behind Bobs Worth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

"It's disappointing that the race didn't happen on the 27th, but Chepstow have done a great job to get it on," said Roddis.

"He's fit and well. The Cheltenham run was as expected, but he's a big horse - an old-fashioned chaser - and he needs a couple of runs to get him going.

"The stats of horses going on from the Hennessy to the Welsh National aren't encouraging, but AP (McCoy) was not hard on him when he realised the race was over at Newbury.

"The weight looks OK - you are always worried something will appear on 10st in a race like this - but we are happy enough with 11st 3lb."

Roddis, who is the development director of Racing Enterprises Limited, originally arranged for Teaforthree to be owned by Sky's Soccer AM programme as part of the Racing For Change initiative to broaden the appeal of the sport.

When the Soccer AM lease expired, he arranged to keep the horse with the help of friends David Zeffman, James Conyers, Chris Guyver and John O'Reilly, who is, conveniently, a managing director with the race sponsors.

"I only got involved as a bit of fun, but to be able to lead him into the winner's enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival is something I don't think I'll ever be able to replicate," said Roddis.

"Of course, we originally just hoped he'd be a nice staying chaser, but as he started to progress we always thought this would be the race that would suit him best.

"We will either end up with a smack in the face, or we'll be proved right."

Curtis has been thrilled with his preparation and feels he is coming to the boil nicely.

"He came out of his Hennessy run really well, he always takes a couple of runs to warm up and we hope we've got him bang on," said Curtis.

"The fact the race is a week later hasn't made any difference.

"The main aim after last year was to get him right for the Welsh National.

"His main asset is his jumping - he's brilliant - and obviously he stays forever and acts on heavy ground.

"Everything should be in his favour."

Victor Dartnall would dearly have loved to get a prep run into Giles Cross as his 11-year-old bids to make it third-time lucky in the Chepstow marathon.

Runner-up to Synchronised two years ago, the confirmed mudlark was also second to Le Beau Bai last season.

However, an outbreak of equine herpes at Dartnall's Barnstaple yard in early November saw the Dorset stable shut down for around six weeks, with six equine fatalities.

Dartnall told At The Races: "He seems very well. He went well on Tuesday in his final piece of work and I'm very happy with him.

"He hasn't had a run this year. We've come out of a dreadful situation which is a worry.

"The horses haven't been running consistently, but he seems very well and everything should suit him at Chepstow.

"We moved him away during the height of the equine herpes outbreak we had and he escaped it.

"Very often, horses will need a run to cope with the awful ground we are getting at the moment.

"Having said that, it's the ground Giles Cross loves. He's hopeless on anything else so let's keep our fingers crossed.

"If I was going into the race with the yard in form I would be feeling very hopeful.

"The plan was to give him a run at Haydock but we couldn't as that was when it all happened and we had to close down for six weeks."

Monbeg Dude gave fledgling trainer Michael Scudamore a first Cheltenham winner when landing a Grade Three in November from 1lb out of the handicap.

Son of champion jockey Peter and brother of top rider Tom, locally-based Scudamore has booked crack Irish pilot Paul Carberry for the ride on his eight-year-old, who remains relatively unexposed over fences.

He said: "Perhaps it's not a vintage Welsh National if you look at the ratings.

"In years gone by, he could have struggled to get in, so that has to give you confidence.

"Looking at the market, he's beaten Teaforthree and Viking Blond around Cheltenham.

"He'll have to step up again having been put up 7lb, but I'm hoping mentally as well as anything he'll have come on for that.

"I see no reason why he couldn't come on a little bit more."

The Jo Hughes-trained Soll was last seen finishing eighth in what now looks a strong renewal of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

That was his second start for Lambourn trainer Hughes, having previously been with Willie Mullins in Ireland.

Hughes said: "He's unexposed and I think he's got a very big future ahead of him.

"He was brought down by a stablemate at Cheltenham (in March) which was unfortunate because I think he would have run very well in that.

"He's very exciting, we really don't know how good he is yet as he's had so few runs.

"The trip isn't a worry, he goes on any ground and he jumps very well so there's a lot to like about him."

Paul Nicholls seeks a third win in the big race, and his first since 2005, as he saddles Michel Le Bon.

Nicholls wrote in his Betfair blog: "He ran really well when he was second to The Package in the Badger Ales Chase and they were a mile clear of everything.

"The Package didn't let the form down in the Hennessy.

"He loves soft ground and stays forever.

"I'd be very hopeful with a light weight he'll go very nicely."

David Pipe has yet to win the race but has two chances in Sona Sasta and the dour-staying Master Overseer.

Both horses won last time out, with Sona Sasta successful over three miles of the Chepstow track and Midlands National victor Master Overseer obliging at Cheltenham in December.

Pipe, whose father Martin farmed the Welsh National for much of the 1980s, said: "Both Sona Sasta and Master Overseer are in good form, they both love the mud and stay all day, so they have ideal credentials for the Welsh National.

"Sona Sasta has shown he likes it there (at Chepstow) and the step up in trip should be fine for him.

"He's had a nice break since his last race, Mikey (Ennis) takes valuable weight off him as well and we're looking forward to a good run.

"The only thing you could say about him is he doesn't always put two good runs together. We hope he can this time.

"Master Overseer battled all the way to the line at Cheltenham. He's another that is a little bit in and out.

"If he's on a going day and if he can get into a rhythm he's another with the right credentials at the right end of the weights.

"He'll always be one of the first horses off the bridle, but if he's on a going day, he'll keep going.

"It looks a wide-open race."


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Universal Soldier is another who has had this race as his aim for some time. Trainer Charlie Longsdon said: "He is very lightly raced, and he's obviously had his problems before he came to me, but since we've had him he's been fine.

"We're putting headgear on him for the first time because he was just looking about a bit last time at Haydock, I thought.

"He will absolutely love the ground and the trip. In fact, the trip isn't far enough as he'll stay further.

"The delay to the race has not made a jot of difference, the ground will still be testing which is what everyone expected.

"He ran a cracking race at the Festival in March behind Teaforthree on ground that was far too quick for him.

"He got outpaced going down the hill but absolutely flew up it."

Welsh handler Tim Vaughan has an interesting candidate in Our Island, sixth in the race last season.

"He has a nice, handy race weight and comes here in good form having finished third in the Devon National last time," said Vaughan.

"He had top weight over four miles that day and hopefully having a light weight on his back will help him.

"It's a super-competitive race, but our horse will love the ground and I'm sure he'll give us a good run for our money.

"It's obviously a race very high on our list of races we'd like to win.

"It's a big part of the calendar in Wales, there'll be a big local crowd and it would be fantastic if we could win it."

With last year's winner Le Beau Bai sidelined by injury, trainer Richard Lee relies upon Incentivise.

Lee said: "He was in the Sussex National at Plumpton on Sunday but I discussed things with the owners and we decided to go to Chepstow.

"I don't like running horses from out of the handicap as a rule, but we have a boy (Killian Moore) who can do the weight and with his 7lb claim we are only 1lb wrong at the weights.

"One of the part-owners is from Cardiff and it has been his lifelong ambition to have a horse good enough to run in the race, so I can understand him wanting to have a go.

"The horse has won twice at Chepstow in the mud before."

Across The Bay has also been declared for the big handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday, but is set to take his chance under top weight at Chepstow.

Donald McCain's nine-year-old has already won at Kelso and Carlisle this season and was last seen finishing second in a Listed chase at Aintree.

McCain's stable jockey Jason Maguire said: "He has done well his last couple of runs and was impressive in heavy ground at Carlisle.

"The trip and the ground and everything like that will suit him well, but he obviously has an awful lot of weight, which makes life difficult."

McCain has suggested Across The Bay may be more effective in smaller fields, but Maguire is not overly concerned.

"That could be the case but, having said that, I would imagine we'll be riding him in a fairly prominent position, so hopefully it's not too much of an issue," said the jockey.

The sole Irish-trained runner is the Paul Gilligan-trained Jadanli.

Gilligan said: "He has a lovely racing weight (10st 5lb).

"I walked the track on Thursday evening and it's heavy ground, which he should like.

"You need a lot of luck in running, but if he gets that I think he could run a big race.

"He's a horse who has had a lot of leg trouble, but I've been happy with his three runs this season."