Secret Reprieve led from the front to win the rearranged Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. The 5/2 favourite (3.5) claimed a second successive win in the race for a Welsh owned and trained horse, with Adam Wedge in the saddle. The win sets Secret Reprieve up for a pop at the National Hunt Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival in March, though no sooner had Wedge dismounted than trainer Evan Williams admitted he is in two minds whether to race Secret Reprieve at Cheltenham or wait for the Aintree Grand National.
“If I’m honest, he’s still a novice and the race which really comes to mind is the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival,” said Williams following Secret Reprieve’s victory on Saturday. He then went on to add, “But that’s only because he is a novice and the reality is the Grand National would be higher on my list.” Make of that what you will, apart from wholly discounting racing Secret Reprieve in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But the online sports betting world is already offering odds on both races as punters look to take advantage of some generous early prices.
Secret Reprieve to take on Potter’s Corner in the Aintree Grand National?
Whether to aim for a win at the most prestigious racing festival or the biggest single race in the world poses a tough choice for Williams. If the Welsh trainer holds back Secret Reprieve for the Aintree Grand National it will come up against Potter’s Corner, the previous winner of the Welsh National in 2019 and the winner of the Virtual Grand National in 2020. Both horses are priced at 25/1 with William Hill in the online sportsbook’s ante post betting odds, and if preparations go to plan those odds will shorten closer to the off. However, ante post bets are a double edged sword, with bookies offering scores of free horse racing bets and promotions when the major meetings come around.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Christian WIlliams trained horse, who has been trained and raced throughout the past year specifically with the Grand National in mind. Historically, the winner of the Welsh Grand National has competed in the Grand National at Aintree, though you have to go back to 2007 and Silver Birch for the last horse to land both prizes, albeit not in the same season. In November Jack Tudor rode Potters Corner to third place in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, beaten that day by 22/1 (23.0) outsider Kingswell Theatre.
Wedge gets his own reprieve following two hard falls at Chepstow
Evan Williams was quick to praise winning jockey Adam Wedge following his victory in the £150,000 race, and the stable’s medical team. Wedge had earlier fallen on two separate horses, with Williams describing him as “squashed on the floor”, while the buckle broke on the girth of his saddle during his race on Secret Reprieve to make him up against the odds.
Wedge had plenty of company throughout the race. The Two Amigos, Yala Enki and Truckers Lodge – all priced under the 10.0 (9/1) mark – made the early running, though ultimately sapped each other’s stamina for the run in. Wedge kept Secret Reprieve in the middle of the field up until the final bend, when the horse found another gear and began to ask real questions of Yala Enki and The Two Amigos, who failed to find the answers. In the end Secret Reprieve’s inch-perfect jumping and the perfect ride from the 31 year old, who had a thread of elastic to thank for the most prestigious of his 18 wins at Chepstow.