Mud-loving stayer THE TWO AMIGOS can announce himself on the big stage by reversing Welsh Grand National form with Yala Enki and landing this Grade 3. Eight-year-olds have won the last four renewals and Nicky Martin’s charge only weakened at the last at Chepstow. Third Yala Enki, who won this in 2018, is only a couple of pounds worse off, despite having won at Taunton subsequently, so won’t go down with a fight but sixth Elegant Escape usually makes at least one serious error and has a big weight to carry. This is probably the minimum for 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur but Vintage Clouds has to be of interest having turned the Peter Marsh into a procession on his favourite track last month when Geronimo was third. Lord Du Mesnil is in fine form but still technically a novice and upped in class. However, he can’t be ignored while Ballyoptic won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby in the autumn, though has struggled since.
Elegant Escape (IRE) 9-4fav (11-12) Mid-division, headway on inside 14th, close 6th when mistake 3 out, soon beaten, no extra last, 6th of 17, 11 1/2l behind Potters Corner (10-11) at Chepstow 3m 7f hcp (1) hvy in Dec.
Yala Enki (FR) 11-10fav (11-0) Led and disputed, hit 10th, in front 12th, hit 16th, clear before 3 out, hit next, stumbled on landing last, kept on strongly, won at Taunton 3m 4f (2) hvy in Jan beating Rock The Kasbah (11-0) by 5 1/2l, 6 ran.
Vintage Clouds (IRE) 7-1 (10-11) Pressed leader until led 12th, clear 2 out, stayed on, won at Haydock 3m 2f hcp (1) hvy in Jan beating Definitly Red (11-10) by 7l, 10 ran.
One For Arthur (IRE) 10-1 (11-2) Soon behind, jumped left and mistake 4 out, stayed on from 2 out, went never dangerous 5th after elbow, 5th of 18, 16 1/2l behind Walk In The Mill (10-8) at Aintree 3m 2f hcp (1) sft in Dec.
Steely Addition (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, mistake 13th, effort after 4 out, weakened 2 out, modest 4th, last of 4, 30 1/4l behind Santini (11-8) at Sandown 3m lst (1) sft in Nov.
Lord Du Mesnil (FR) 11-4fav (11-5) Prominent, not fluent 2nd, led 4th, clear from 3 out, stayed on well, won at Haydock 3m 4f hcp (2) sft in Dec beating Perfect Candidate (11-3) by 9l, 6 ran.
The Two Amigos 8-1 (10-8) Led after 1st, headed after 7th, led after 12th, headed 3 out, weakened final 150 yards, 5th of 17, 10 1/4l behind Potters Corner (10-11) at Chepstow 3m 7f hcp (1) hvy in Dec.
Geronimo 6-1 (10-5) Close up, ridden to chase winner 3 out, kept on same pace and lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 10, 7 1/4l behind Vintage Clouds (10-11) at Haydock 3m 2f hcp (1) hvy in Jan.
Pobbles Bay (IRE) 25-1 (10-5) Mid-division, effort after 18th, well beaten 4 out, 8th of 17, 22 3/4l behind Potters Corner (10-11) at Chepstow 3m 7f hcp (1) hvy in Dec.
Smooth Stepper 16-1 (11-3) Mid-division on inside, pushed along and outpaced 16th, plugged on, 6th of 14, 8 1/2l behind Jepeck (11-0) at Sandown 3m hcp (2) sft in Jan.
Ballyoptic (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Chased leaders on outside, lost place before 6th, closed 8th, mistake 10th, struggling 14th (foinavon), tailed off from 3 out, 11th of 18, dist behind Walk In The Mill (10-8) at Aintree 3m 2f hcp (1) sft in Dec.