Dartnall's grounds for optimism

Victor Dartnall is hoping Giles Cross can overcome the lack of a prep when he bids for the Welsh National at Chepstow.

The 11-year-old has been runner-up in the last two renewals of the valuable handicap chase and had made one previous racecourse appearance the same season on both occasions.

However, with Dartnall's North Devon stables having closed for a few weeks due to an outbreak of equine herpes, Giles Cross goes straight to Chepstow for his first run of the campaign.

Dartnall believes that will not he a handicap as he has got plenty of work into his prolific stayer, who has won first time out in the past.

"He seems very well," said the trainer.

"It would have been great for him to have had a prep run - he hasn't had one, but he's had a lot of work.

"It should be his ground."