Secret Reprieve to keep the Welsh National on home soil for a third successive year


The belated return of the brilliant Arkle winner Shishkin is todays Kempton highlight as Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten chaser goes head-to-head with the recent Tingle Creek winner Greanateen under Bryony Frost who is in the plate again this afternoon.

With last season’s beaten favourite Chacun Pour Soi in action at Leopardstown this afternoon we will likely see a shake up in the market for the Champion Chase by the end of the day. Shishkin currently heads the market Wednesday highlight at the Festival at 7/4 with Betfred.

The big betting race of the day is the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and, with former Gold Cup and 2016 Welsh National winner Native River heading the weights, a number of the field are out of the handicap.

Secret Reprieve

Evan Williams landed this valuable and prestigious prize with Secret Reprieve (2.50) 12 months ago and he can follow up from a 6lb higher mark. The selection has headed the antepost market for the race since the entries were made in the autumn and he turned the race into something of a procession last year. Note he heads a strong home challenge in the race with Welsh trained runners trying to keep the prize on home soil for a third successive year following the win of Potters Corner in 2019.

I appreciate he has no great record fresh, and it was not the plan to go for the race without a prep run, but the dry autumn scuppered those plans and 11/2 with Paddy Power is too good to ignore.. He will carry just 10st this afternoon, will enjoy underfoot conditions and can become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Martin Pipe’s Bonanza Boy in 1988/89. Irish raider the Big Dog is considered the biggest danger although the shortlist of potential dangers is long!

Secret Reprieve is a best price of 11/2 with Paddy Power

Later in the card I hope to see Imperial Alcazar (3.25) go one better than when second to the excellent mare Silver Forever in a match on his chase debut at Newbury on ground faster than ideal. The selection jumped well for a novice and the form has been franked by the winner who followed up in a listed contest back at the Berkshire track – he looks great value at 15/8 with bet365.

Pay The Piper

Midnight River did not look a natural over fences on her first start over the larger obstacles and at Wetherby I hope to see Pay The Piper (1.00) follow up his Newcastle win last time out stepped back up in trip – he’s a best price of 15/8 at 888sport.

The selection ran a cracker when just touched off by Fiddlerontheroof in the Colin Parker at Carlisle back in October and that form has been franked by the winner who ran such a terrific race when runner up in the Ladbrokes Trophy.