Did Master Oats win the Welsh National?
The joint-eleventh highest rated steeplechaser in the history of Timeform, Master Oats is best remembered for winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, by 15 lengths, in 1995. Indeed, prior to the victory of First Flow in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January, 2021, he was the last Grade 1 winner for Gloucestershire trainer Kim Bailey.
Master Oats also ran three times, without success, in the Grand National. On his first appearance, in 1994, he fell at the thirteenth fence, before finishing seventh in 1995 and fifth in 1997, both times under top weight of 11st 10lb. However, he did win the Welsh National, albeit a hastily-rearranged version, run over 3 miles 5½ furlongs at Newbury, on New Year’s Eve, 1994, after the original meeting at Chepstow was abandoned, due to waterlogging, four days earlier.
Fresh from a 4-length victory over Party Politics in the Rehearsal Chase at Chepstow on his reappearance earlier that month, Master Oats was sent off 5/2 favourite for the Welsh National and never gave his supporters and anxious moment. Held up at the rear of the field by regular partner Norman Williamson, Master Oats was still hard on the bridle when taking the lead at the fourth-last fence; thereafter, he sauntered clear and, despite being eased on the run-in, still won impressively, by 20 lengths from Earth Summit, with Party Politics a further 25 lengths behind in third place.