Exeter option for Grand National hope Snow Leopardess

Charlie Longsdon’s Snow Leopardess could head to the Listed Virgin Bet Mares’ Chase at Exeter on Sunday in a bid to boost her rating and secure a place in the Grand National.

The mare won a thrilling renewal of the Becher Chase at Aintree in December, holding on to prevail by a nose from Hill Sixteen after a three-and-a-quarter-mile route over the Grand National course.

Snow Leopardess’ rating was raised to 147 after that performance, a mark that was likely to earn her a spot in the Grand National itself in April, but collateral form then caused the handicapper to later adjust the figure to 145.

The lowest-ranked horses to make the cut in last year’s National were rated 145, potentially leaving Longsdon’s entrant on the cusp of qualification ahead of the official weights announcement next week.

The trainer had previously contemplated a run over hurdles to protect Snow Leopardess’ rating of 147, but now she has been dropped by 2lb, he is instead considering an outing over fences at Exeter at the weekend to try to lift her chances of making the Grand National field.

“The plan is, if there’s enough rain, that she’ll go to the mares’ chase at Exeter on Sunday,” said Longsdon.

“I’ve spoken to the handicapper, who thinks that we might just get into the National off a mark of 145, but we might not, so that’s why he’s encouraging us to run again.

“Bottom weight was 145 last year and he’ll know more than us. We’ll look at it later in the week and we don’t want to mess about with her mark if we think we’ll get in, but he’s saying we’ll probably have to run her one more time.

“She’s is great form and she’s ready to run, she’s got all the bonuses at Exeter on Sunday.

“We’ll look at the Exeter race, she seems in very good form and we couldn’t be happier with the way she’s been going at home.”

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