By Simon Jackson.
Connections of Monbeg Dude are eyeing a return to Chepstow for the Coral Welsh Grand National as 67 entries were revealed for the £100,000 marathon on December 27.
Monbeg Dude, part-owned by rugby stars Mike Tindall, James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson landed the Welsh National two years ago. He is set for a potential clash with last year’s winner Mountainous who is also amongst the entries for this year’s contest.
The nine-year-old was second on his comeback in a Class 2 at Chepstow last month and trainer Michael Scudamore said that he is ‘tempted’ to tackle the Welsh showpiece again.
“We’ve got a few options over the next couple of weeks with the Hennessy and Becher Chase as possible targets,” Scudamore said of Monbeg Dude who is best priced at 14-1 for Chepstow.
“We’ll see what happens, but having won the Coral Welsh Grand National previously, it certainly is a tempting option.”
Scudamore’s charge was amongst the leading contenders for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree in April after impressing when winning a Grade 3 at Cheltenham.
But despite his stable star’s big race success, Scudamore endeavoured to improve his jumping ahead of Aintree and welcomed the input of Tindall’s wife, Zara Phillips, in the preparation of Monbeg Dude who ultimately finished seventh in the 2014 Grand National.
“A lot has come together with the horse and Zara’s input has been huge,” Scudmore said at the time. “Her work has just made him a little more aware where his feet are over the obstacles. That’s what eventing horses is all about, they have a completely different way of looking at it.”
Tindall added: “After the Welsh National [victory], Zara said he was not quite respecting his fences and was lazy with his jumping.
“So she started doing some pole work with him and getting him sharp on his feet. The progression is there to see, now he bounces over his fences. He travels a lot better now and is conserving his energy and speed.”
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