Most punters would probably say that the Coral Welsh Grand National is probably not the race to risk your shirt on. Races sponsored by bookmakers normally deserve to be given the big swerve and down the years it has certainly produced plenty of long-priced winners. The race is a long distance handicap chase and is usually run in swamp like conditions. However, it is a race that has tended to extend my Christmas good cheer.
The Welsh National was first run at Chepstow in 1948. It has been dominated by a number of jockeys and trainers down the years. For instance, the late great David Nicholson, ex-racehorse trainer and jockey, added his name to the Chepstow hall of fame by partnering three successive Welsh National winners in 1959, 1960 and 1961.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, the race was monopolised by the brilliant Martin Pipe. Bonanza Boy achieved back-to-back successes in 1988 and 1989. However, it was the victory of his 1991 winner Carvills Hills that lives longest in the memory. On that day we saw a horse that produced a performance that was truly outstanding. The horse simply outclassed, out galloped and out jumped his rivals in 1991 to become one of the easiest winners in the history of the race, despite the burden of nearly 12 stone. The performance was also a tribute to the talents of his trainer who had nursed Carvills Hill back to full fitness following recurrent injury problems.