Fergal O’Brien’s improving staying chaser Chase The Spud has proven the most popular pick in the ante-post market for next week’s Welsh National. The nine-year-old was last seen winning at Haydock on Betfair Chase day, putting in a dour staying performance in dire conditions to record his fourth victory over fences.
That was his first run since winning the Midlands National over the marathon 4m 1 ½ furlong trip, and the traditional soft conditions at Chepstow on December 27th for the Welsh version should be right up his street. Currently best-price 12/1 joint-second favourite, 26.86% of all bets on the race in the last seven days have been on the Spud.
Next on the list with punters is Raz de Maree with 15.12% of all bets. The 12-year-old was a gallant second in the race last year behind the progressive Native River, and finished second over hurdles earlier this month in preparation for Wednesday’s big one. Sent off at 33/1 for last year’s race, he’s currently as short as 16/1 with one firm (best price 25/1).
Completing the top three for Oddschecker punters is Mysteree with 10.61% of all bets placed. Second behind Chase The Spud back in March, he had previously finished ahead of Fergal O’Brien’s charge at Haydock earlier in the season before winning the Eider Chase at Newcastle just three weeks before his run in the Midlands National. Best price 16/1, those odds have been shortening throughout the last week with one firm now just 12/1 for the Michael Scudamore nine-year-old.
Of the others, Oddschecker racing ambassador Nick Scholfield has been keen on the chances of Ask The Weatherman, even before landing a handicap at Exeter on board the eight-year-old back in November. Trained by Jack Barber, he has been a prolific winner on the point-to-point scene and Nick was confident he had a workable handicap mark back under rules and he is currently best price 12/1.