Big races today at both Sandown and Chepstow, with the Welsh Grand National, re-routed after its abandonment at Christmas, taking centre stage.
Saturday 5th January
MICHEL LE BON
Chepstow 3.20 WIN
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has been convinced this horse has a major prize in him from the moment he won a Grade Two contest on his chasing debut by a whopping 60 lengths at Newbury more than three years ago. Ambitiously, he even pitched him straight into the Hennessy Gold Cup last season, despite an injury-absence of exactly 24 months. The gelding’s lightly-raced career has been plagued by setbacks but after an encouraging return to action at Wincanton in November, this Welsh Grand National could at last represent his day in the sun. Nicholls’s charge was a close second behind The Package at the Somerset track -- form that gives him the edge over today’s favourite, Teaforthree -- and he is crying out for the kind of stamina test the Chepstow contest will provide him. Given a clear round of jumping, he must be on the premises, so it is an added bonus that Ruby Walsh is free to take the ride.
TIP OF THE DAY SUPPLIED BY SCOOP RACING (RICHARD SILVERWOOD).