Despite the falling snow throughout Wales today, with rising temperatures forecast over the next 24 hours it looks likely that tomorrow’s racecard at Chepstow will go ahead. That’s excellent news considering that the day’s big feature race, the Coral Welsh National, looks a really intriguing renewal… and is the source of this week’s Free Tip Friday selection.
The 20 runners for this gruelling 3m5f marathon go to post at 1.45pm with Synchronised and Maktu currently disputing favouritism in the betting. These two certainly deserve their place in the market whilst Silver By Nature, Dream Alliance and Dance Island also have a big chance in the £80,000 showpiece contest.
However, as I alluded to yesterday, the one that I’m nailing my colours to is the Paul Nicholls trained Watamu Bay. This exciting 8-year-old is just about the least exposed amongst tomorrow’s field and is certainly heading in the right direction on the evidence of his two wins in novice chases this term. Whilst he has yet to run in a handicap, he was rated 140 over hurdles, and therefore does not look overburdened off a mark of 147. Nicholls hasn’t been so bullish about this, suggesting he feels the handicapper has been a little strong handed, but it is interesting that the trainer certainly hasn’t ruled his runner out. Indeed, with 5lb claimer Ryan Mahon taking the ride, Watamu Bay’s burden is taken below the 11st mark in conditions that are certain to suit in Monmouthshire.
Providing he can handle the step up in distance of 5½ furlongs and the hurly burly of a race as competitive as this, then Watamu Bay is perfectly poised to spring a big surprise. And, at 12/1, that would get Free Tip Friday’s 2011 campaign off to a real flier…
Saturday 8th January 2011 – 1:45pm Chepstow WATAMU BAY WIN @12/1