Bryn Terfel belting out the Welsh national anthem as the runners circle at the start in front of the packed stands; there really isn’t anything in racing like the Coral Welsh Grand National (2.50pm).
This famous event – the longest running sponsorship in jump racing – takes place at Chepstow on Wednesday and punters will be eager to find the winner to pay for all the excesses of Christmas.
This is a contest not for the faint-hearted where stamina always comes to the fore.
The combination of 3m5½f, 22 fences and almost always heavy ground separates the men from the boys.
Guts and guile are the prerequisites rather than speed and flashiness.
There have been some real old warriors who have claimed this prize over the years.
Last year’s victor, Native River, who had previously won what was then the Hennessy (now Ladbrokes Trophy), managed to follow up despite the welter burden of 11st12lbs.
Richard Johnson, who was on board that day, will fancy his chances of winning back-to-back renewals with Rock The Kasbah, who has form figures of 22111 at Chepstow.
He has obvious claims, but there has to be a slight worry about the form of the Philip Hobbs stable, while he isn’t a huge price at 10/1.
My big fancy is MYSTEREE for Michael Scudamore, who scored a famous win in this race five years ago with Monbeg Dude, owned by Mike Tindall and James Simpson-Daniel.
My selection only joined Scudamore ahead of last season, but in four appearances he won two and was second in the Midlands Grand National.
He has a brilliant record fresh, loves soft ground and stays longer than the mother-in-law.
This race looks ideal, as do his odds of 14/1 with 188BET.
POINTERS - 27 DEC
Mysteree e/w 2.50pm Chepstow