CHEPSTOW’S premier race meeting of the year is fast approaching, writes Jim Beavis.

The Welsh Grand National, sponsored by Corals since 1973, invariably produces a quality field and a great spectacle.

This year’s four ante-post market leaders can go on the likely soft ground, have displayed the necessary stamina, and have winning form this autumn.

What’s more, they all have 'the' in the middle of their three-word names.

They are Beware The Bear, Ask The Weatherman, Chase The Spud and Rock The Kasbah.

The final 20 runner line-up will be known a couple of days before the race itself.

Tickets for this year’s meeting, on Wednesday 27th, are still available from the course.

Welsh trainers won five races at Ffos Las on Monday.

As for those in or close to Gwent, Milton Bradley took the honours at Lingfield last Tuesday with a 1,121/1 treble.

The third of them was Temple Road in the five furlong dash.

The nine-year-old was winning at the Surrey track for the eighth time, and he’s entered in a similar race there on Saturday. He could be up against David Evans’ Awesome Allan, whose best form is over six furlongs on soft going.

On Saturday, Evans’ three-year-old Daily Trader scored for the third time this year on the all-weather.

Godolphin originally purchased him for 100,000 guineas as a yearling. When he was two they decided to geld him, and sent him to the sales after just one run, where Evans bought him for 6,000 guineas. His three wins since came at three different courses, over a mile, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half. Though he’s no world-beater he’s won back his purchase price and his versatility makes it likely he’ll win more races in time.

Grace Harris has had a mixed week. Living Leader and Tally’s Son both ran creditably to finish third on the flat at Wolverhampton, but Paddy’s Oscar disappointed to finish a well beaten fifth at Hereford. Seven-time winner Grams And Ounces came down at the last flight in a race at Plumpton on Monday, his first fall in 53 runs over obstacles.

Ron Harris’ Union Rose ran at Chelmsford for the first time last week but was unable to follow up his Wolverhampton success earlier this month. He was never going that well and the track may not have suited him.

Stablemate Viola Park was fancied at Kempton and hit the front a furlong only to be promptly overtaken by a 20/1 outsider. He’s finished second three times out of four, which won’t encourage the handicapper to drop him to his last winning mark.

Harris is opening up his Ridge House Stables near Earlswood on Sunday 7 January between 10am and noon. Members of the public will be welcomed. After admiring his horses and facilities it’s a very short journey to Chepstow for their race meeting that afternoon.

Followers of Venetia Williams will be wondering if Yalltari’s victory at Hereford on Saturday signals the usual flood of winter winners from the stable. They have several entries all this week.

The Evan Williams yard is also one to watch, with many of their better horses possibles for Haydock and Ascot towards the weekend.

Might Bite heads the market for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, with Bristol De Mai, Thistlecrack, Fox Norton and Whisper among the opposition.

The best bet there that day is whatever Nicky Henderson runs in the opener, a novice hurdle. He has a terrific record in that race.