Elegant Escape heads the weights and the betting for Friday's Coral Welsh Grand National, with last year's winner among a final field of 17 confirmed for the marathon contest, report Racing Post.

Trained by Colin Tizzard, Elegant Escape stayed on strongly to prevail off a handicap mark of 151 a year ago but his task is even greater this time around, with a rating of 160 and top weight to carry. However, he is officially 4lb well in after a fine run to finish third in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Robbie Power will ride the seven-year-old for the first time on Friday, meaning regular rider Tom O'Brien continues his association with second-favourite Now McGinty, who has finished first, second and third on his three previous runs at Chepstow and was only narrowly touched off by Santini on his seasonal reappearance last month.

Tizzard also runs West Approach in the race, who will be partnered by Tom Scudamore.

 Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who won the race as a rider with Playschool in 1987 before saddling Silver Birch and L'Aventure to win back-to-back runnings in 2004 and 2005, holds a strong hand in this year's race thanks to Truckers Lodge and Yala Enki.

Another leading fancy declared for the race on Thursday was Potters Corner, trained in Bridgend by Christian Williams and sure to be a popular choice among the locals. The winner of the Midlands National at Uttoxeter in March, Potters Corner will be partnered by fellow Welshman and 7lb claimer Jack Tudor for part owner Wales centre Jonathan Davies.

The most notable absentee on Thursday was the Philip Hobbs-trained Steely Addition.

The going at Chepstow was described as soft, heavy in places on Thursday morning, although between 5-10mm of rain is forecast before the racing on Friday. The GoingStick on the chase course is 4.3 and on the hurdle track 3.5.

The seven-race card also features the Grade 1 Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle, with warm favourite Allmankind among a final field of nine.

Welsh Grand National field

Elegant Escape - Robbie Power 7/2

Yala Enki - Bryony Frost 9/1

West Approach - Tom Scudamore 12/1

Now McGinty - Tom O'Brien 11/2

Potters Corner - Jack Tudor 8/1

The Two Amigos - Matt Griffiths 20/1

Truckers Lodge - Lorcan Williams 13/2

Pobbles Bay - Conor Ring 20/1

Pop Rockstar - Richie McLernon 40/1

Arthur's Gift - Jamie Bargary 33/1

Prime Venture - Adam Wedge 16/1

Virginia Chick - Isabel Williams 33/1

Field Exhibition - Danny McMenamin 50/1

Captain Chaos - Harry Skelton 20/1

Space Cadet - Mark Enright 40/1

Rathlin Rose - Mr Fergus Gillard  50/1

Looks Like Power Richard Patrick 100/1

Pembrokeshire runners on the Chepstow Welsh Grand National card

12.30 Peter Bowen

Equus Dancer – Disappointed as a favourite here last time but should have plenty of ability at this level. On the shortlist.

Lermoos Leged – The least likely winner of Bowen’s three in this contest. Would spring a big surprise to feature today.

Orsino – Talented on the flat and making debut over hurdles today. Definitely one to watch.

1.05 Peter Bowen

Lord Byron - Pulled up at this course last time, he has a lot on his plate as the rank outsider in this highly competitive contest.

2.10 Peter Bowen

Souryian - Returning from a very long absence, this is another one of Peter Bowen’s outsiders who looks unlikely to trouble the judge.

3.55 Peter Bowen

Courtland – 7th at Exeter on his only career start to date. Runners from major yards with better form may prove to be too good on this occasion.


 Check Racing Post for the latest racecards and results.