Not since Peter Scudamore rode Bonanza Boy to back-to-back victories in the Welsh National has a horse claimed the Chepstow showpiece on more than one occasion.
But now, under the care his Scudamore’s son Michael, Monbeg Dude looks well placed to become the next dual winner of the race.
Back in January 2013, under an archetypal Paul Carberry ride, the then eight-year-old stayed on the strongest up the Welsh course’s long home straight.
Since then he has rarely run a bad race, only finding the quality of opponent out of his reach when pitched in at the highest level in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He raced off a mark of 128 when defeating subsequent Grand National third Teaforthree in the race 23 months ago, and will have to defy an 18lb higher mark this time round.
However, at nine-years-old there is plenty of reason to believe there has been enough improvement in that time.
If the likes of Harry Topper and/or Sam Winner remain in the race it would ensure the horse owned by a number of professional rugby stars would get away with carrying a sub 11st weight.
Even if neither take part there has been plenty to like at ‘The Dude’s’ recent runs to suggest a bold showing is within his capabilities.
Last seen charging up Newbury’s home straight late on to finish a good fourth in the Hennessy Gold Cup, the gelding is certainly an out-an-out stayer, or plodder, whichever way you look at it.
Either way he has the right attributes to come out on top in the supreme test of stamina that is certain in the contest on December 27th, and looks a cracking bet at a stand-out 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
While he won this race on heavy ground last time, any surface will be fine for the son of Witness Box, something that makes him a spot of value against some of the others short in the antepost market.
The likes of Shotgun Paddy (picked out by Racing Post’s Pricewise) and Black Thunder are undoubtedly strong stayers and very talented, but their reliance on extremely soft ground could find them out, should we be blessed with an uncharacteristically mild spell.
Nevertheless, even if it did come up heavy, we will be keeping on side the horse that knows exactly what it takes to land the feature contest of the year at the Monmouthshire track.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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