Colin Tizzard isn’t exactly relishing the prospect of asking his talented staying handicapper Hey Big Spender to carry top weight in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chesptow on December 27 but accepts as officially the best horse in the race there is nothing he can do about it, writes Elliot Slater.
Although the Paul Nicholls-trained Neptune Collonges is on a 3lbs higher mark at the top of the current list of declarations for the marathon three-mile-five furlong slog around the Welsh countryside, the champion trainer has made it clear that the horse is almost certainly going to be targeted at the Lexus Chase in Ireland instead leaving Tizzard’s charge to head the weights for one of the main horse racing betting events of the Christmas racing period.
Hey Big Spender has never raced as far as he will be asked to travel at Chepstow but certainly gives the impression that staying is very much the name of the game for him having won in desperate ground at Carlisle last season over three-miles-one furlong and stayed on over three-and-a-half-miles to be fourth on his seasonal bow this term behind Galaxy Rock in a Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham in November.
More recently the horse trained down in the West country made the long journey north to Newcastle pay handsome dividends by giving 22lbs and a length-and-a-quarter beating to The Hollinwell in the listed At the Races Rehearsal Chase, a performances that had ‘Welsh National’ written all over it. Tizzard is worried about asking his stable star to carry so much weight in likely very testing conditions over an extreme distance but accepts that if you are officially the best performer in the line-up then there is no shirking the matter.
For those who bet on racing Hey Big Spender is currently rated at around 14/1 to provide his handler with a high profile success in the feature Chepstow contest. He is equally capable should the going prove faster than is the norm for the time of year having won in the past on good and good to soft going.