AT Chepstow last weekend the Welsh National Trial went to the David Pipe-trained Ramses De Teillee, who was scoring over course and distance in heavy ground for the third time.

Despite a convincing five-length success, his owner was non-committal about going for the Welsh National itself 19 days later. On the flip side, the horse would only incur a four pound penalty, and would almost certainly be well in compared with his revised handicap mark. Bookmakers are taking no chances and make him the 8/1 favourite.

Back To The Thatch, another course and distance winner, was beaten only six lengths into fourth. This run could tee him up nicely for the Welsh National on 27 December and his current odds of 20/1 are appealing.

The long range weather forecast suggests no extreme conditions between now and then – indeed, the last week before Wales’ premier horse race is expected to be mainly dry. Chepstow are still offering discounts for advance bookings.

Elsewhere on Saturday’s card, Truckers Lodge won the three mile handicap hurdle with ridiculous ease.

Ballyart showed great gameness despite going down by a head in a novice hurdle over the same distance.

Evan Williams’ Secret Reprieve belied his 50/1 odds with a cosy win in the two and a half mile novice hurdle. As this four-year-old is owned by Mr and Mrs William Rucker, he is sure to be brought along slowly this season with a chasing career in mind next season or the one after.

Deborah Faulkner’s Chepstow specialist Beallandendall took a heavy fall in the first race, but appeared to walk away sound.

Grace Harris’ Maguire’s Glen made a few mistakes and seems out of form at the moment. His stable companion Emilene, who ran her best race last time out when finishing third, has a couple of entries this week.

The veteran Paddy The Oscar is due to make his seasonal reappearance at Warwick on Thursday.

When the Bernard Llewellyn yard runs more than one horse in a race it doesn’t do to dismiss the less fancied runner. They ran two in the seller at Leicester last week and their 20/1 shot Shadow’s Boy recovered some of his old zip and gave his backers a good run for their money. He was deprived of the spoils in the last half furlong by a Gordon Elliott runner. It seems odd that a stable that won 210 races in Ireland last season worth over 5 million euros feels the need to compete in UK sellers.

Meanwhile, on the flat, Ron Harris’ Viola Park was denied by a short head at Kempton last Wednesday, ridden by David Probert. The gelding broke smartly enough, having started slowly the time before and still finishing fourth. He runs there again tonight and another bold bid can be expected. Probert has equalled last year’s total of 94 winners and a steady stream of all-weather rides at Kempton and Chelmsford means he could well surpass it by the weekend.