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Welsh Grand National: Nassalam demolishes field in Chepstow feature for Caoilin Quinnand Gary Moore

Nassalam was much the best, pulling well clear on a dream day the Gary Moore team and Caoilin Quinn; earlier on the card, Salver won the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow for the Moore and Quinn combo

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Caoilin Quinn talks about his incredible Welsh Grand National victory on Nassalam at Chepstow

Nassalam showed stamina in abundance to run out an ultra-impressive winner of the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

Sent off the 9-2 joint-favourite under a 4lb penalty for winning the Welsh National Trial at the course earlier this month, Gary Moore's six-year-old was tracking the pace set by the front-running Amateur in the early stages of what was a typically testing renewal of the marathon event.

Passing their point of departure for a second lap of Chepstow, it was only the John Flint-trained Amateur and Paul Nicholls' Complete Unknown, scraping the paint on the inside, that were recognisable from their silks as the gruelling conditions began to take a toll.

Nassalam and Caolin Quinn power to victory in the Welsh Grand National
Image: Nassalam and Caoilin Quinn power to victory in the Welsh Grand National

Owned by John and Yvonne Stone, Nassalam joined Amateur midway down the back and led those left standing into the home straight for the final five fences, with Sam Thomas' 2021 hero Iwilldoit and Complete Unknown in hot pursuit.

A blunder from Complete Unknown soon knocked the Ditcheat challenger out of contention and although Iwilldoit gamely gave chase, Nassalam was not for catching as he extended clear up the Chepstow straight.

He was 15 lengths to the good jumping two out and extended that advantage to 34 lengths as big-race jockey Caoilin Quinn added another facile triumph to Salver's victory in the Grade two Finale Juvenile Hurdle only 40 minutes earlier.

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Jonjo O'Neill's Iron Bridge eventually claimed the silver medal, with Iwilldoit in third, but the afternoon belonged to the mud-loving Nassalam who was introduced at 25-1 by both Paddy Power and Betfair for the Randox Grand National at Aintree.

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"I winged the first and got in the ideal position just behind the leaders and I couldn't believe how well he travelled," the winning rider told Sky Sports Racing.

"We jumped the middle one down the back and we jumped into the lead and I was kind of thinking I don't want to be there so soon, but he was going so well - I wish I'd had a look now, I won by quite a bit. What a great performance.

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"I think the ground is a big factor and I said to Gina (groom) when it was squishing on the ground, he loves this. He just seems to travel so much better on it, he properly loves the mud.

"I'm delighted, over the moon, from winning the Grade Two the last race to this, I can't believe it and I'm very emotional. It is all thanks to my boss and Mr and Mrs Stone for trusting me. I've ridden plenty of big winners for them and for them to keep me on, I'm very grateful."

Salver powers to Finale victory

Salver relished the gruelling conditions as he remained unbeaten over hurdles with a destructive display in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

An impressive winner at both Warwick and Exeter before having his sights raised for this Grade Two contest, he was made the 5-4 favourite in the hands of Caoilin Quinn following the late defection of ante-post Triumph Hurdle favourite Burdett Road on account of the deteriorating ground.

Gary Moore's charge continued his trend of racing at the head of affairs as he disputed matters with Anthony Charlton's Balboa, and on turning for home Salver's class came to the fore as he took the lead three out and took off into the distance.

Salver and Caolin Quinn land the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow
Image: Salver and Caoilin Quinn land the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow

Balboa to his credit continued to plug on for second but Salver was in splendid isolation as he came home for an unchallenged 21-length success.

It was the second Grade Two of the season for fledgling jockey Quinn, while Moore was winning the race for the second time in three years, with Salver cut to 16-1 from 33s by Betfair for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

"I can't believe it and it's unbelievable how it has happened," said winning owner Keith Graves told Sky Sports Racing.

"Gary said have a look at this horse and I bought it and he's won three on the spin and looks like he could go on.

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