Kempton’s King George VI Chase is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Britain’s busy Christmas racing schedule but for national hunt enthusiasts the Coral Welsh National, scheduled for the day after the Boxing Day showpiece, runs it a very close second.
This year’s five-day entry has attracted three previous winners in L’Aventure, Halcon Genelardais and Miko De Beauchene who, of course, just got the better of Halcon Genelardais in a tremendous finish to the 3m6f contest 12 months ago. Alan King, responsible for the latter, also saddles ante-post favourite Nenuphar Collonges this year and appears particularly keen on the chances of Robert Thornton‘s mount, "He is often off the bridle in his races but it seems the further he goes the better.", he told sportinglife.com, "This is obviously the furthest he’s been but we think he is crying out for a race like this." Nenuphar Collonges can be backed at 11-2 in several places while stablemate Halcon Genelardais is a general 9-1 being rated 8lbs higher that last year. Miko De Beauchene is a 10-1 chance with most high street bookmakers but Robert And Sue Alner‘s stayer can be backed at 19-1 on Betfair. Mon Mome, third in 2006, is a general 6-1 and represents the in-form Venetia Williams team. He comes here off the back of a gutsy win at Cheltenham and his 4lbs penalty is largely offset by Aidan Coleman‘s allowance so the eight-year-old, who is proven in the mud, is a must for the short-list but I think the value lies a little further down the weights.
Beat The Boys, as a second-season chaser endowed with plenty of stamina, looks to have the ideal credentials for this race and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has a record second to none when it comes to training the winner of the Welsh National. Beat The Boys, 16-1 with several firms including Bet365 and Skybet but available at 20-1 on Betfair, ran a cracking race behind Joe Lively and Halcon Genelardais at Cheltenham on his reappearance, despite being 6lbs ‘wrong’ in the weights. Sure to strip fitter for that and only 1lb out of the handicap proper this time, the grey gets the vote in what is sure to be another thrilling spectacle.