Coral Welsh Grand National
The rearranged Welsh National takes place at Chepstow today and it looks like it's going to be a real slog in the mud. The is officially heavy and it is going to be really hard work for all involved.
Due to the bottomless ground it will definitely pay to focus on those at the bottom end of the weights. In ten renewals of this race run on heavy ground only one horse has carried more than 10 stone 8 to victory, therefore based on this we can immediately discount half of the field.
This is also a race that statistically suits the younger horses, those aged six to nine. I really like the 2013 winner Mountainous, but given this stat and his poor showing in last year's race and subsequent to that, I am going to steer clear this time around.
We have now managed to narrow the field down to seven possibilities based on the above information and the one that stands out for me is the Philip Hobbs trained Woodford County. He is a nine year old that has won three of his seven races on heavy ground and will be carrying the relatively feather weight of 10 stone 3 around. He won last time out at Exeter on heavy ground over a furlong further so we know he stays, plus he generally like to run up with the pace which I believe will be a big help, as trying to come from too far back in these conditions could prove to be a thankless task.
Woodford County is a pretty attractive price for a horse that we know stays, carries a low weight and runs for a trainer having a superb season.
The FA Cup
As mentioned yesterday I believe this year's third round of the FA Cup has the potential to spring a few upsets with Premier League teams resting a lot of their players. Two potential upsets that I have picked out are Doncaster at home to Stoke, and Sheffield United away to Manchester United.
Doncaster currently sit mid table in League One and are at home to Stoke who are having a reasonable season. However, they have played the same starting eleven in their last four matches and they looked out on their feet against Liverpool on Tuesday night. There is certain to be a plethora of changes made by Mark Hughes and I think this could give Doncaster the opportunity to snatch this game.
Sheffield Utd travel to Old Trafford and expectations will be extremely low. Utd have been in pretty terrible form although they did win their last game of the Xmas period against Swansea. That was far from convincing though and are surely going to be a much changed side as well with Tuesday's trip to Newcastle surely on De Gaal's mind. If they are not on their game, which is quite likely given how they have looked so far this season, then Sheffield United who have been a good cup team over the past few years, could spring a massive upset at a really nice price.
Welsh National 13:45 - Woodford County - 1 point each way @ 16/1 (Most firms) Ensure you get five places
FA Cup double - Doncaster and Sheffield United - 1/2 point @ 51/1 (Betvictor)