Tag Archive for: Betfred Grand National Trial

The Two Amigos aiming to do Martin proud once more

Nicky Martin is praying the rain keeps falling for her “little rock star” The Two Amigos who lines up in the Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

The 11-year-old took advantage of a decreased rating to land the Welsh National at Chepstow and now heads to another of his favoured tracks looking to double up in another marathon contest.

That was The Two Amigos’ first win in almost four years and he has been given a chance once again by the handicapper heading to Merseyside off just a 5lb higher rating, while the reports of wet weather in the north west are also exciting Martin.

She said: “He’s my little rock star and hopefully it keeps raining.

“They’ve obviously had rain because the going description has now changed and earlier this week I didn’t think we would be going. But the ground seems to have changed to good to soft and if my weather forecast is correct there is supposed to be further rain to come.

“Chepstow has rejuvenated him and he’s now being really naughty – he’s never been naughty. He’s buzzing. We turned him out the day after the Welsh National and he was full of himself.

“He has just done his normal work for the last five or six weeks and goes there in very good order. We just keep our fingers crossed it goes soft enough.”

Conditional rider David Prichard has been a consistent fixture on board the veteran of late and his 5lb claim allows Martin’s stable stalwart to carry a feather weight once again – something the handler believes is a huge advantage for her pint-sized champion.

“He’s off a good weight again,” she continued. “With David’s claim he’s only got 10st 1lb which I’ve said right from the beginning helps him. He’s a horse who needs little weight in a better race rather than a lot of weight in a lesser quality race. He’s so tiny he just doesn’t cope with a heavy weight now he’s got that little bit older.

David Prichard after winning the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase on The Two Amigos at Chepstow
David Prichard after winning the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase on The Two Amigos at Chepstow (David Davies/PA)

“He’s always run well at Haydock when he has completed and he seems to like Haydock like he does Chepstow, so it seems the logical place for us to go.”

Venetia Williams’ Quick Wave was pulled up when 4-1 favourite for the Welsh National won by The Two Amigos and is one of three in the race for the Herefordshire trainer alongside course winner Fontaine Collonges – who is the pick of stable jockey Charlie Deutsch – and Cloudy Glen.

Cloudy Glen runs in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, whose racing manager Mick Meagher said: “You’d have to go back to his best form, but if you do he’s finished second in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and he’s won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. Those runs are plenty good enough to run and run well in the Grand National, so we’ll see how he goes on Saturday.

“He’s going to be on the borderline with the weights, so he doesn’t want to be losing heavily on Saturday. He’s borderline for the National (on 145), but perhaps with less entries this year you’d hope he’d get in.

caption id=”2.65004841″ width=”4106”]

Cloudy Glen in action at Doncaster

Cloudy Glen in action at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)[/caption]

“He’s homebred and he was our first big winner after the boss died, so I’d say he means a lot to the family. Hopefully he can run well on Saturday and seal his place in the Grand National. The boss used to love having runners in the National so it would be nice to carry that tradition on.”

Bristol De Mai has a tremendous record at this track and will be relishing the chance to strut his stuff at his favourite venue once more.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 12-year-old was seven-lengths second off a 5lb higher mark in this last year before subsequently being promoted to first following the disqualification of The Galloping Bear.

Sue Smith’s Small Present showed his staying prowess when third in the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day, while Omar Moretti is given the chance by Alex Hales to build on a respectable comeback run at Ayr last month.

“I’m really looking forward to him and I’m pleased for Haydock the race has stood up,” said Hales.

“He’s in really good form and I said to his owner that he deserves to have a crack at something decent as we feel he is well handicapped at the moment. He is slightly unexposed and we think there is more in him yet.”

Fortescue won at Ascot on this weekend last year and is one of just four in the race to actually hold an entry for Aintree on April 15 along with Quick Wave, Cloudy Glen and Chris Honour’s Grumpy Charly, while Charlie Longsdon’s Snow Leopardess showed glimpses of her old zest when sixth over the cross-country fences at Cheltenham on Trials Day and is now tried in first-time cheekpieces.

[Alan King’s Notachance was third in Warwick’s Classic Chase when last sighted and will be in his element over this extended distance while Richard Hobson is confident Saint Xavier can add to the course victory he secured earlier in the season.

Saint Xavier, here runing at Sandown, was a winner at Haydock earlier in the season
Saint Xavier, here running at Sandown, was a winner at Haydock earlier in the season (Steven Paston/PA)

“He’s in great order. He could do with the ground being a bit softer but I think every horse in that race is in the same boat,” said Hobson.

“To be fair he won at Auteuil on good to soft ground and he also ran a blinder over two and a half miles on good to soft at Cheltenham earlier in the season, so over this trip I’m not overly worried as long as they are making a nice print.

“He’s got to go another two furlongs (than when winning here in November) but if he gets into that cog and a nice rhythm I think he will stay. He’s a rhythm horse.

“He beat The Two Amigos here before he went on to win at Chepstow and he’s a good horse. He could be dangerous off a mark of 128.”

Donald McCain’s course-and-distance winner Tim Pat, the consistent First Lord De Cuet and Jonjo O’Neill’s Time To Get Up complete the line-up.

Try Tix for Better Tote Returns