THERE are 199 entries for Chepstow’s Christmas Party Race Day on Saturday, so good-sized fields are likely.

Eighteen of them are in the Welsh Grand National Trial, which has the makings of a very competitive three mile chase; on the face of it, none of the entries could be dismissed lightly.

Seven of them are course winners, including Back To The Thatch, last season’s Welsh National runner-up Alfie Spinner, and Duke Des Champs for Philip Hobbs and, possibly, the champion jockey Richard Johnson.

As well as seven races, starting at 12.20, there’ll be a Best Christmas Jumper competition, festive music and an opportunity to meet Santa.

Grace Harris schooled Paddy The Oscar recently and the popular 15-year-old is on course to return to the track at Warwick next week.

The stable’s Ffos Las winner Maguire’s Glen was out of his depth at Cheltenham last month but has a better chance in Saturday’s first race at Chepstow.

Deborah Faulkner’s Chepstow-loving Beallandendall could be one of his opponents.

The barren spell of the David Evans yard continues; they’ve had only one winner from 100 runners since September 22. Perhaps luckless would be a better word; they had 12 second places in that period.

Gracious John was fancied to do well at Lingfield yesterday and Evans has an interesting contender in tonight’s 6.00 at Kempton, when Atletico has his third run for the stable. He’s won three races for Roger Varian, but disappointed during the summer and was sold for £35,000. That’s an expensive horse by the standard of most in the Evans yard and he must believe he can revitalise it.

Last time out in a Listed race at Lingfield, Atletico didn’t have the clearest of passages and while he was never going to win, he was beaten only two and a half lengths. Now he’s dropped in class and traffic problems are less of an issue at Kempton. His poor form figures (090008) will deter casual punters and five of his rivals have won last time out or the time before, but he could be fair each way value because of that.

Ron Harris’ Viola Park last won at Kempton in May and returns there for the first time for tonight’s 7.30. He’s seven pounds lower than for that latest win. He ran fourth at Wolverhampton on Saturday, not helped by a slow start. He needs a good break, though; four of his five wins have come by making the running.

Two of Bernard Llewellyn’s flurry of winners at the end of October could reappear on Thursday. Shadow’s Girl, a game winner at Chepstow when ridden by Richard Johnson, may go to Leicester whereas Borak is entered at Wincanton. The latter has been doing so well that he’s having a go in a class 3 handicap, but the opposition looks strong.

Llewellyn has Never Equalled entered in the seller at Leicester and on ratings has a very good chance.

Stablemate Shadow’s Boy could also represent the yard. The horse is taking a big drop in class after some dismal efforts, and needs to recapture his autumn 2017 form to be in with a shout. However, Gordon Elliott has a couple in the race too and either would demand serious consideration.