Grand National Trial Tips

- 12:02, 16th February 2017

“Cue Card runs at Ascot on Saturday but he’s skinny odds to win in a poor Ascot Chase renewal. So I thought it’d be much more entertaining for you (and me) if I tackle this competitive Grand National trial run at Haydock on Saturday. With the weights out for the big race already it’ll be interesting to see how some of the contenders do here.” JJ

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I was all over Bishops Road for the Grand National after he reigned supreme in this race last year. He won with so much in hand and my thinking was if the ground turned soft for the National, he had a huge chance. Unfortunately he never made the cut - and the ground turned soft! When BLAKLION won the RSA last year I expect Nigel Twiston-Davies was thinking more about the Gold Cup than the National, but this is now where we are with this eight-year-old. He’s been running with credit without setting the world alight this season. He was a decent fifth in the Hennessy before plugging on for third behind Definitely Red last time at Wetherby. I don’t think that was his true form but he did run like this extra four furlongs would suit, and he looks like a tailor made National horse.

Vintage Clouds has a huge chance based on his last run where he looked set for third place in the grade two Peter March Handicap had he not fallen at the third last. However I worry about him stepping up in distance so will leave him alone for now. Conversely one who has buckets of stamina is GOODTOKNOW for Kerry Lee and Jake Greenall. Kerry Lee is an expert trainer of these marathon staying chasers and she can improve them tonnes even at the latter stages of their career. This nine-year-old however could just be coming into his prime in this sphere, especially based on his gruelling victory last time. In absolutely horrendous conditions he managed to get the better of heavy ground specialist Mountainous and by seven lengths. He will want a bit of rain to settle into the ground but at least we know he’ll stay. Heavy ground would be preferable over three miles but over four furlongs further soft ground will suffice.



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