Raz De Maree 
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Raz De Maree and Alfie Spinner, both 13 year-olds, served up a treat in deep winter ground, with the former becoming the oldest ever winner of the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

Twenty went to post for this rescheduled race, contested on heavy ground and with fences omitted.

At the off, with two circuits to race, it was Raz De Maree, Vintage Clouds, Ask The Weatherman and Buckhorn Timothy who were among the leaders charging into the first turn.

At the first fence, Chase The Spud, Wild West Wind and Vintage Clouds disputed the lead, where former winner Emperor’s Choice took a crashing fall.

With three fences negotiated, Wild West Wind held the overall led with Vintage Clouds, Ask The Weatherman and Chase The Spud.

On The Road was a faller at the fifth fence and as the remaining 18 turned into the straight, there were a bunch of horses contesting the lead, including the grey Vintage Clouds, Ask The Weatherman, Chase The Spud and Wild West Wind.

With a circuit to race, that quartet continued to set the pace with Beware The Bear and Alfie Spinner on their heels, while O’Faolains Boy was pulled up.

Ask The Weatherman started to drop back, while Vicente, towards the back, came down.

Wild West Wind was the next to crash out, bringing down Firebird Flyer.

Up front, Alfie Spinner went on from Chase The Spud, with Pobbles Bay, Final Nudge, Rathlin Rose and Bishops Road closing. Vintage Clouds meanwhile dropped away.

Turning for home, Alfie Spinner, Bishops Road, Rathlin Rose, Final Nudge went on, with Raz De Maree staying on.

Racing to the second last, Alfie Spinner was challenged by Raz De Maree who went on under 16 year-old James Bowen.

A good jump at the last saw former Cork National winner keep up his momentum – and he needed to as Alfie Spinner gallantly kept on all the way to the line in a battle of veterans.

Third came Final Nudge with Vintage Clouds getting back up for fourth, ahead of Silsol.

Trained by Gavin Cromwell, Raz De Maree, second in the race last year, became just the second Irish-trained winner.

In a race with its share of crunching falls, all horses were reported to be unscathed.

Cromwell told At The Races: ” He gave him a peach of a ride.

“He was flat to the boards down the back, but he didn’t panic and he stayed on. This is fantastic, just brilliant.”

Cromwell added: “He’s the oldest horse since the war apparently and only the second Irish winner, it’s fantastic.

“He’s such a pleasure to have, it’s fantastic. He’s only a small horse but has such heart.”

Bowen said: “He’s only a few years younger than me! We didn’t travel anywhere at all and I thought we’d do well to get round and pick up a place.

“Once he passed a few horses he then picked up the bit and we ended up getting there too soon.

“It’s amazing to win. You grow up watching these races at home and to win it in my first (full) season riding is amazing.”