The feast of festive action continues with the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Friday afternoon. Here is our preview of the marathon staying handicap.

The right Approach is to side with Now McGinty

Few things are certain in life but you can always bank on the Welsh National being run in testing conditions at Chepstow. The marathon 3m 6½f trip and 23 fences on soft ground makes this one of the most gruelling stamina tests of the entire National Hunt season.

Lugging around top-weight isn’t ideal but that hasn’t starved off interest in 7/2 favourite Elegant Escape, who will carry 11st 12lbs in a bid to become the first back-to-back winner in 30 years. Colin Tizzard’s charge ran a cracker to finish third in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time, again carrying topweight, and any other year that would be the best piece of form on offer. However, the strength of this season’s race at Newbury has to be questioned and Elegant Escape certainly isn’t a very elegant price.

The more eye-catching form has to be Now McGinty’s reappearance at Sandown, gallantly battling out a thrilling finish to the Future Stars Intermediate Chase with high class staying chaser, Santini. He’s clearly improved from his novice campaign, handles soft ground and should have no problem stepping up in trip.

At a bigger, double-figure price, West Approach appears to have sneaked under the radar a little bit. He unseated when favourite for that same race at Newbury two starts back and then returned with a gutsy third in a competitive Graded handicap at Cheltenham.

He’s a runner-up in Grade 1 company over hurdles and his current mark of 150 looks fair. He looks another worth supporting at 12/1.

Potters Corner would be a popular winner for Welsh trainer Christian Williams, and he comes into the race in great form having won at the track last time out. He looks like and out and out stayer so this should be the perfect race for him and he’s certainly one to consider.

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