TWO years after Native River’s Coral Welsh Grand National victory, we saw another classy Colin Tizzard-trained 6-year-old take our biggest prize when Elegant Escape scored on Thursday.

In winning the Welsh National under a big weight, Elegant Escape put himself into the picture for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. He has a similar profile to stablemate Native River, who won the Gold Cup a year after his Chepstow victory. The Aintree National is another possible target for Elegant Escape, who is quoted for both races at around 20/1.

Elegant Escape is a horse we’ve followed because, like a lot of the top Tizzard horses, he started his career at Chepstow. He had his first ever run over hurdles when he won at Chepstow in October 2016, and last year he also made his chasing debut at Chepstow, being narrowly beaten by Mia’s Storm.

Elegant Escape went off favourite for the Welsh National after finishing second in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup (formerly the Hennessy) last time out, looking like stamina would be his strength. He saw out the new trip, of almost three and three-quarter miles, really well, holding off a strong challenge from Ramses De Teillee, our trial winner last month. Last year's winner Raz De Maree ran a great race to finish 5th, just days before his 14th birthday.

Elegant Escape is owned by Dorset businessman John Romans and was ridden by Tom O’Brien, who lives locally and was winning his second Welsh National, having taken the race on the famous Dream Alliance in 2009.

The main supporting race, the Grade 1 Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle, saw a fantastic battle between the nation’s two most successful trainers, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson. It went to the in-form Nicholls yard with Quel Destin. The tough three-year-old was winning his fourth race on the spin, just outbattling the Nicky Henderson-trained Adjali. Both horses will be aimed at Cheltenham’s Triumph Hurdle.

Paul Nicholls also took the bumper, a flat race for jumping bred youngsters, with the £280,000 purchase Ask For Glory. He was the easiest winner of the day and looks like a potential superstar.

This year marked 30 years since the great Bonanza Boy won the first of his two Welsh Nationals. To mark the occasion we were joined by his legendary trainer Martin Pipe, his rider Peter Scudamore and his owners George and Angie Malde. It was fascinating hearing the stories of their glory day!

Unfortunately, our ambassador, champion jockey Richard Johnson, wasn’t with us on the day as he was riding at Kempton. However, it was great to see that he has been rewarded for his services to our sport with an OBE in the New Year honours list. Sixteen times runner up to Tony McCoy in the jockeys' championship, and champion for the past three seasons, Richard is a brilliant rider and a thoroughly nice man. We’re pleased that he has agreed to be our ambassador again in 2019 and he will be at most Chepstow jump racing meetings, meeting our customers.

Chepstow’s next meeting is on Monday, 7th January. We also race on Friday 18th, and there is a ‘January Sale’ on tickets and on restaurant bookings. More details are on our website