The Leader’s racing tipster Charlie Croasdale has been crowned the 2017 Racing Post Flat Naps champion.

The 26-year-old Chester FC reporter held a commanding lead going into the final week of the national competition and finished with a flourish with three winners in a row which helped secure a wide margin victory.

Croasdale, who hails from Cymau and now lives in Penyffordd, lifted the crown showing a final profit of £54.58 to a £1 level stake having had to select one horse every day over the past six months, fending off closest rivals Racing Post Ratings (£27.45) and Racing Post data service Postdata, who finished with £25.88 profit.

The Leader were one of several local newspapers to answer the Racing Post’s approach for more regional titles to join in their naps table, which includes 56 participants from regional and national titles, and has been won in the past by well-established national tipsters including The Times’ Rob Wright and Templegate of The Sun.

Croasdale, who becomes the latest name to win the Racing Post Challenge Cup, was presented with his first prize of £4,000 on Racing Post Trophy day at Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday by the Racing Post’s betting editor and premier tipster Paul Kealy.

The Racing Post duo in the place money claimed £1,500 for second and there was a £500 consolation prize for third.

“It’s been a bit of a surreal weekend,” he said. “I was aware I could’ve lost it late in the day on Thursday, so was following the action intently ticking off each rival as the day went on.

“I was in the pub when the last race was on at Chelmsford, where basically the chap in fifth had napped the rank outsider which might still have collared me late on, but thankfully it was tailed off entering the home straight, so there was a bit of celebrating going on!

“I’ve been taken aback by all the kind messages I’ve received from family, friends, colleagues and some really well-respected figures in the racing industry.

“Then it was off up to Doncaster on Saturday morning for the presentation where it was a real pleasure to meet Paul Kealy and enjoy a day at the track.

“I still can’t quite believe I’ve managed to win and I’m delighted to have landed first place.”

There was no let-up for the tipster, with the Jumps Naps competition beginning the day after the Flat competition finished, and runs for the next six months, so can Croasdale – who has been at The Leader since 2013 – retain his title?

“I’ve made a fairly inauspicious start to the jumps naps but there’s a long way to go! I’m more of a jumps man at heart, that’s how I really got into racing in the first place, so perhaps we’ll do alright,” he explained.

“I’m looking forward to a few decent days at Cheltenham next month and we’ll go from there.”

You can read Charlie’s selections and his weekly racing column in The Leader every Friday – which has returned extremely healthy profits for the 2017 flat season and will now continue into the winter as the jumps season gets underway.

You can follow the daily Racing Post naps table on the Racing Post website or via the Sporting Life website.