Trainer Evan Williams was delighted to see Secret Reprieve live up to his tag as favourite and win the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Saturday.
The seven-year-old had been fancied to win the race ever since he triumphed in the Welsh Grand National Trial at the Monmouthshire circuit early last month and that stance hadn’t altered even though the original scheduling of the three-mile-five-furlong contest had to be changed due to a waterlogged track over the festive period.
That change seemingly didn’t effect Secret Reprieve, however, as the Flemensfirth gelding travelled strongly throughout Saturday’s race and eventually prevailed by three lengths from The Two Amigos, while Yala Enki finished third.
It is the second year in a row that a Welsh-trained runner has won the Grade 3 race and Williams was delighted with how Secret Reprieve handled the big occasion.
“It’s nice tension to have (being the favourite) ? that’s what we do it for. That was never a worry as far as I was concerned,” Williams was quoted as saying by Racing TV.
“The horse is a joy to deal with. You can never be confident when you’re going over this sort of trip, but in the pit of my stomach I thought it would bring out further improvement and it looked to me like he galloped right through the line.”
A tilt at the the Aintree Grand National has now been suggested for Secret Reprieve, but Williams has played down such talk, with a run in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival looking like being the horse’s next port of call.
“The race that really comes to mind is the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. That is only because he’s a novice,” Williams added.
“The reality is that the Grand National would be higher on my list, but I’ll have to talk to Mr and Mrs Rucker (owners) and see which way they want to go and see how the horse comes out of this race.”