Jonjo O’Neill’s ante-post favourite Monbeg Genius has been ruled out of the Coral Welsh Grand National due to a foot abscess.
The chaser had led the market since a fine third in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury and appeared to have plenty of the required attributes for the Chepstow marathon.
However, his name was not among the 22 who remain in contention for the December 27 showpiece – live on Sky Sports Racing – and O’Neill admitted the timing of the foot issue could not be worse.
“He’s got an abscess so he won’t be ready in time, unfortunately,” said O’Neill.
“He did pick up a few cuts at Newbury, but it’s nothing to do with them, they’d all cleared up. If it’s not one thing, it’s another thing.
“It’s very annoying but when they are not right you can’t run them. He’ll be all right but it’s just the wrong time. Unfortunately I didn’t tell him he was running!
“We might have a look at the Classic Chase at Warwick or the race at Lingfield (Fleur de Lys Chase). I’m not really thinking to be honest, I just want to get him back.”
O’Neill is still likely to be represented in the race by Iron Bridge, who also holds an entry in Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Chase on Boxing Day.
“He’ll go to Chepstow all being well. I put him in at Wetherby because you never know with the weather and one thing or another, but Chepstow was always the plan,” he said.
“He didn’t run great the last day, it was maybe a combination of the trip being a bit sharp on decent ground.
“He seems in good form at home but you’d have liked to get a proper run into him beforehand, it’s a big race. He’s as good as we can have him without another run, so we’ll take our chance.”
Previous winner Iwilldoit tops the weights with Complete Unknown, The Big Breakaway, The Galloping Bear, Chambard and Autonomous Cloud all in contention.
The Jamie Snowden-trained Super Survivor, winner of a novice heat on the Welsh National undercard last year and second on his seasonal bow at Lingfield, is the new 9/2 favourite with the sponsors following Monbeg Genius’ withdrawal.
Watch all the action from Chepstow on Wednesday live on Sky Sports Racing with the Welsh Grand National due off at 2.50pm.
Source : Sky Sports