Wincanton Somerset National Handicap Chase 3.40 January 16

Moving In Style heading in right direction

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The ‘National’ brand is now countrywide, from the Highlands to Devon via the Midlands, Durham, North Yorkshire, Sussex and London. Quite where the Somerset National sits in relation to other long-distance chases bearing similar names is open to debate but the latest incarnation has attracted nine runners this year, most of them proven stayers.
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National winners convene for Somerset version

If there is such a thing as a National pedigree in racing terms, then the Somerset National certainly fills the criteria.

In that opening paragraph, we omitted the West Wales National, which is run at Ffos Las. That is the race won by Pobbles Bay in April of last year. Evan Williams’ charge has only run once over fences since, in the much more illustrious Welsh National at Chepstow. He never figured in that Grade 3 but will appreciate having his sights lowered again.

Dawson City won the Devon National for the second year running in 2019. You would imagine that the Exeter race next month will be the target again for Polly Gundry’s stayer and he didn’t show great deal in the Borders National at Kelso last month.

Christmas In April is the form horse having won his last two, including the Sussex National at Plumpton 11 days ago when Rathlin Rose was third. That pair have a quick turnaround and Colin Tizzard’s hat-trick seeker has to carry a penalty but he’s clearly thriving over fences now he’s got his head in front.

Morney Wing can be a bit of a monkey, as his form figures this season will testify, but he won last season’s London National at Sandown when carrying overweight so is effectively only 4lb higher.

Cyclop completes the National set having won the Lincolnshire version at Market Rasen in 2017. He was second in the same race when last seen on Boxing Day and is well handicapped on past form, despite a 2lb rise.

Dorset-based stayer is at the right end of the handicap

MOVING IN STYLE is something of an interloper, therefore. though there is no doubting his staying credentials. Everything at Robert Walford’s Dorset yard is aimed towards developing chasers and the trainer has a live candidate for this year’s Aintree Grand National in Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill, who was fourth in the big one itself last year. While Moving In Style has a way to go before being in that category, he has finished second at Haydock and Newbury recently and his jumping appears to have improved since he switched stables. The nine-year-old is at the right end of the handicap for a race like this and could enjoy a change of luck. The general 7/2 looks reasonable enough and he is our betting tip for the Wincanton Somerset National Handicap Chase.

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Somerset National Handicap Chase Current Best Odds*

Christmas In April 5/2, Moving In Style 7/2, Coningsby and Cyclop 13/2, Pobbles Bay and Rathlin Rose 8/1, Dawson City 11/1, Theligny 12/1, Morney Wing 25/1

(*Odds correct at 8.45pm 15 January)