The 2018 Welsh Grand National betting tips say Elegant Escape looks a worthy favourite for the festive feature handicap chase at Chepstow on Thursday, 27 December. Vintage Clouds was a fine fourth in the extended 3m 5f Grade 3 test 12 months ago and is thus feared most. Vieux Lion Rouge, meanwhile, looks to be coming back to his best after a wind op and eye-catching run last time out, so makes each-way appeal. Read on for further details of this big betting race in our 2018 Welsh Grand National betting tips preview.Elegant Escape can go one better in Welsh NationalColin Tizzard landed the Welsh Grand National two years ago with Native River and has another highly-regarded six-year-old for the latest renewal of Thursday’s big betting race at Chepstow in Elegant Escape (14:50). This son of Dubai Destination has never finished outside the first three in nine chase starts, and looks primed to go one better than when runner-up in the similar Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time out.
Elegant Escape is a course hurdles winner who has really come into his own since switching to fences. After finishing second on his first two chase outings, he landed the Grade 2 John Francome Novices’ Chase at the 2017 Winter Carnival and then chased home the plucky Black Corton in the Kauto Star at Kempton 12 months ago.
He then made all and bolted up by an impressive 13 lengths at Exeter from the re-opposing Ramses De Teilee, and Elegant Escape was from disgraced when third at both spring festivals. Given his busy campaign, placing behind Presenting Percy and Terrefort were both very solid efforts and give him leading form claims in this.
Two big performances this season so far
The absence of proven stayer and gutsy mare Ms Parfois, who was ahead of Elegant Escape in the latter run at Aintree, is a big plus here. He then just collared Thomas Patrick close home and touched him off by half-a-length on reappearance in a very useful Listed event at Sandown.
Elegant Escape was all the rage for the Ladbrokes Trophy off the back of that effort and, although no threat to his enterprisingly ridden stablemate Sizing Tennessee, he beat many of his old rivals when sticking to the task well and going down by 10 lengths. That defeat has seen the handicapper cut his rating back to 151 – the same as when last successful.
Tom O’Brien, who is three from six on Elegant Escape, is back on board, so taking all that into account his claims in this are obvious. We readily put him up as the main fancy in our 2018 Welsh Grand National betting tips to emulate Native River’s victory in this stamina test.Vintage Clouds a clear dangerThree of the first four home in last year’s race take their chances again. Of those, Vintage Clouds appears open to the most improvement and returns to Chepstow off the back of a winning reappearance, so is one of a few that has claims of challenging the favourite.
The Trevor Hemmings owned, Sue Smith trained eight-year-old ran a string of solid races last season including when fourth in this 12 months ago. Vintage Clouds was hampered on more than one occasion, yet still kept on and was only beaten 16 lengths. That was a fine effort, given how the race panned out.
Last year’s rivals have it all to do
While last year’s winner Raz De Maree and Final Nudge, who finished in from of Vintage Clouds, both re-oppose, the former is 13 and the latter comes to Chepstow without a prep run. It’s a big ask for either to reproduce their form in this.
Although then headed close home by Ballyoptic in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby, Vintage Clouds is better off at the weights with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner – from both that run and when third in the Scottish Grand National over 4m at Ayr.
Ballyoptic comes into this off the back of a crashing fall in the Becher Chase on reappearance at Aintree, but Vintage Clouds warmed up with a game victory at Haydock when just holding Takingrisks half-a-length. With regular rider Danny Cook on board, everything is in place for a big run and he is thus another to consider in our 2018 Welsh Grand National betting tips.Vieux Lion Rouge has each-way claimsDavid Pipe saddles two in search of the spoils and, while the aforementioned Ramses De Teilee is challenging at the head of the betting, the each-way preference is for the stable’s other runner Vieux Lion Rouge. The nine-year-old has vast experience of staying tests like this and shaped really well when a running on second in the Becher after a wind op last time out.
Vieux Lion Rouge was closing on Walk In The Mill at Aintree and beaten just 4 1/2 lengths over the Grand National fences, so that suggests the extra three furlongs in this should suit. He could also come on for that run and the stable are back in decent form on a 20 per cent strike rate in the 14 days before Christmas.
Pipe has raised concerns about the stamina of Ramses De Teilee, but none exist about his stable companion. Vieux Lion Rouge has completed the Grand National three times and trying something between the 3m 2f of the Becher and the Aintree showpiece distance wise for the first time should thus be right up his street.
Tom Scudamore takes the ride again and was on a very healthy 26 per cent win rate in the two weeks leading up to the festive period. If coming on for his return in the Becher, then the double figure odds on offer about Vieux Lion Rouge look better value than chancing Ramses De Teilee will get home. He thus completes our 2018 Welsh Grand National betting tips with some bookmakers paying enhanced place terms.Your Next Bet