Horse racing: Irish hand weakened for Welsh National

The Irish challenge for tomorrow's Coral Welsh National has been severely depleted with Becauseicouldntsee being ruled out and compatriot Lochan Lacha a "doubtful" runner.

Becauseicouldntsee was an excellent second in last month's Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown and was as short as 14-1 for this weekend's Chepstow marathon.

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But his trainer Noel Glynn is keen to save his charge for a tilt at the Grand National at Aintree in April.

"We've pulled the plug on Chepstow and we're going to run him in a few hurdle races before going to Aintree," said Glynn.

"I was tempted to have a go as he came out of his last race like he hadn't had a run, but if he had a hard race at Chepstow that might finish him for the year.

"We want to have a go at Aintree. He jumps, stays and has a bit of toe, so why not have a go?

"I own the horse as well, so it would be fantastic.

"He'll run in a hurdle race at the end of the month, another at the end of February and then head to Aintree."

Tony Martin's Lochan Lacha is unlikely to make the trip as he is not guaranteed a place in the final field.

"It's doubtful he'll run. He needs seven to come out in front of him in the ballot and there's no point shipping him over if he's not going to get in," the trainer said.

"We'll know in the morning and if we can get him out fairly quick, there is just a chance we might run him, but it's only 50-50.

"He's a fair horse and a proper Welsh National horse as the further he goes the better.

"Anything less than three miles is too short and he just jumps and gallops. He's a proper old-fashioned horse and the deeper the ground the better."

Chepstow clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is keeping his fingers crossed the fixture, which has been transferred from the Christmas period due to the weather, will be given the green light.

The track could be hit by up to 10 centimetres of snow in the next few days, but Ottesen hopes this will clear because of a significant rise in temperatures.

"We could get up to 10cm of snow," said Ottesen.

"The forecast does say it will warm up and then turn into rain so we would hope to get rid of it by Saturday morning.

"We are due a slight freeze tonight and then the snow is forecast. It will stay cold tomorrow but then warm up when it hopefully turns to rain. By Saturday we are forecast temperatures of 7C or 8C.

"We have the course covered and in our experience snow melts quicker on top of the covers.

"We might end up calling a precautionary inspection for Saturday morning but as yet we don't have one planned.

"With a bit of luck we'll be all right."

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