Top commentator Simon Holt previews the Welsh National and Thursday's action from Kempton with last season's third tipped to go well in the Chepstow feature.
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FINAL NUDGE, a creditable third in last year's Coral Welsh Grand National, looks weighted to do even better in Thursday's renewal at Chepstow.
Nothing was travelling better than this nine-year-old turning for home 12 months ago, but he proved one-paced in the closing stages and was beaten 15 lengths in total behind Raz De Maree and Alfie Spinner with Vintage Clouds close up in fourth.
Whereas Final Nudge arrived at Chepstow then following a very good second to Present Man in the Badger Ales Chase at Wincanton, connections have decided to run fresh this time off a 7lb lower mark and, during the gelding's career, he has often gone well first time out.
While an out and out stayer, Raz De Maree is hard to fancy this time on recent form while the admirable Vintage Clouds is now fully 13lb worse off. The latter, successful recently at Haydock, is again likely to go well despite a rise in the weights though he has tended to place rather than win in these big handicaps.
Admittedly, Final Nudge didn't really fire in later starts last season but this will have been the target again and the handicapper has certainly given him a chance of making another bold bid.
At Kempton, SPRINGTOWN LAKE can take advantage of a possibly favourable mark in the 32Red.com Handicap Chase.
The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding chased home Mr Whipped at Haydock (giving the winner 5lb) earlier in the month but remains on his reassessed figure for winning at Sandown previously as the official handicappers can only increase the winner's rating in non-handicap novice chases.
With Mr Whipped rated 145, the tough and genuine Springtown Lake could, in theory, be 6lb well in here off 142 with the promise of further improvement to come now stepped up to three miles.