THE villagers of Penhow will be watching the first race at Aintree on Friday with particular interest, as their local trainer Robert Stephens runs Push The Tempo there.

It’s a contest worth £75,000. The horse won three in a row last summer and returned from a break with a close third at Plumpton. He’s sure to come on for that run, and there are worse 25/1 shots.

There is also a possible Welsh interest in the Grand National. Rebecca Curtis’ Scottish National winner Joe Farrell is number 42 in the list of 69 remaining entries. The top 40 will be entitled to run. It is quite likely that a couple above Joe will drop out. Another attempt at the Ayr race, a week later, is more likely – and the horse is in the Irish equivalent too – but connections must be tempted to take the rare chance to have a runner in the Aintree marathon.

While there is some controversy about the Irish trainer Gordon Elliott having 12 or more runners in the Grand National – despite there being nothing in the rules against it – nobody has complained about local trainer David Evans running four horses in the field of 17 in last Saturday’s Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster. Traditionally the first two-year-old race of the season, it’s an opportunity for speedy, precocious juveniles to shine before their blue-blooded rivals are ready.

Evans’ Dorchester Dom was foaled in May 2017, so biologically he is not yet two years of age. Unfancied at 50/1, he did well to finish fourth and could reappear at Leicester on Friday. Heer We Go Again was slowly away and finishing seventh was respectable. He was running again at Lingfield yesterday and was fancied to do much better. Dark Optimist was also slow to start, and never threatened. Best of the Evans ensemble was Zulu Zander, who was up with the leaders throughout and finished third. He too is in that Leicester race on Friday. It would be a surprise if at least one of these didn’t win in the next month.

The Bernard Llewellyn family also made the journey to Doncaster, to run two horses in the amateurs’ race. Ascot Day was well beaten, but Nabhan defied odds of 66/1 to finish only a length and three quarters behind the winner. He finished in sixth place, giving Bernard’s granddaughter Jessica Llewellyn a memorable first ride in public.

Deborah Faulkner entered Aclassagold in today’s 2.10 at Wincanton. He was the subject of a gamble at Sedgefield in January but didn’t show the expected improvement. If he runs, the faster ground at the Somerset track might suit him better.

All the Aintree action can be watched at Chepstow, where they have a seven-race programme sponsored by bookie Sid Hooper. Drewmain Legend, a winner on last year’s card, may seek a repeat success. There’ll also be music throughout the afternoon from a BritPop DJ, and an Oasis tribute band after the racing, the entertainment going on until 7.30.