Friday, February 19, 2021

Haydock's William Hill Grand National Trial 2021

Look, you wouldn't say Notachance was particularly well-named.

Five weeks ago Alan King's charge held Achille half a length to win the Classic Chase at Warwick and prior to that he beat The Two Amigos seven lengths into third in the Anne Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase at Bangor-on-Dee. 

Immediately after that latest success the trainer was asked about the Aintree Grand National. Mr King was unequivocal - the Scottish Grand National is his target. 

He subsequently wrote in the Weekender [20-24.01.21]:

"Although I'm not sure whether he'll race again beforehand, I can say for certain he'll not run in the Grand National, this year or ever."

Part owner Tim Leadbeater had a share in West End Rocker who didn't enjoy his excursions over those big Aintree fences back in 2011 and 2012.

Some bookies think Notachance has a favourite's chance in tomorrow's William Hill Grand National Trial (Haydock 2.40) even though, strictly speaking, both Achille and The Two Amigos are weighted to reverse recent form. 

To quote Mr King again:

"Although he [Notachance] doesn't do much when he hits the front, he was always holding the runner-up [Achille] in a race few really got into." 

The gelding also holds an entry in the Swinley Chase (Ascot 2.25) but the Haydock marathon has been nominated as the first preference.

Nobody would begrudge The Two Amigos his day in the limelight. 

Nicky Martin's charge races prominently, jumps for fun and found only Secret Reprieve too good in the re-arranged Welsh Grand National six weeks ago (Lord Du Mesnil ninth, reported to have shown signs of post-race heat stress; Ramses De Teillee tailed off in twelfth). He finished fourth behind Smooth Stepper in last year's race here and can be expected to improve on that effort. 

Course and distance winner Lord Du Mesnil looked the winner of last year's race as they turned for home but the petrol gauge started to show empty at the penultimate flight and he was collared after the last. 

Richard Hobson's charge was racing off a mark of 147 that day - ten pounds above his previous winning mark. He hasn't been in quite the same form this term and has been withdrawn from a couple of possible engagements on account of the ground.

Both Potters Legend and Perfect Candidate may be getting on a bit but they both like this track.

The former finished second last time, a long way behind Royal Pagaille who is now as low as 6/1 with Sky Bet for next month's Gold Cup, while the latter beat Fortified Bay 45 lengths over course and distance in November.

Enqarde has certainly made his mark over here since coming from over there in France. 

On four runs to date for new connections he has won twice, been beaten a neck into second, and unseated in the race won by Sam's Adventure here in December. He won 'comfortably' off mark of 124 at Ascot last time and has been raised eight pounds. With Charlie Hammond claiming three, he's open to further improvement (as they say) racing off a featherweight on his first try at an extended trip.

With just four chase starts to his name, Sojourn has the least experience over the larger obstacles. His second behind Sam's Adventure reads well - he looked the winner for much of the trip that day. The yard has been quite quiet of late.

Four weeks ago Venetia Williams' stable jockey Charlie Deutsch preferred to go to Ascot to ride Espoir De Guye (fourth) and Fanion D'Estruval (fourth) rather than to go to Haydock to ride Royal Pagaille -Tom Scudamore was the principal beneficiary. Charlie will be hoping he has made the right decision this time - Venetia sends Yalltari (Daryl Jacob) and Cloudy Glen (Tom Scudamore) to Ascot.

On revised terms Achille meets Notachance three pounds better off for half a length although, as Mr King indicated, his charge doesn't do a lot when in front. Even so, that was a decent seasonal debut from Venetia's grey and there could be a bit more to come. 

Unfortunately the price has contracted slowly during the day but with Sky Bet paying four places Achille is the each-way suggestion (15/2 quoted at the time of writing). 


There may not be too much value in Achille's price but Sub Lieutenant looks overpriced at 40/1 with Paddy Power / Betfair paying four places in the "My Oddsboost" on Betfair Swinley Chase (Ascot 2.25). 

Formerly with Henry De Bromhead, the gelding is now trained in Tenbury Wells on the Worcestershire / Shropshire border by Georgie Howell. Fourth over this course and distance behind Mister Malarky on his first run for new connections, he was beaten just under 10 lengths. Tabitha Worsley is well worth her five pound claim and the trainer has hinted they intend to adopt more aggressive riding tactics tomorrow. The long term aim is the Grand National.


Anonymous said...

William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase


Ramses De Teillee [RDT] tops the system outputs [rtg & wc%] so I’ve taken an EW punt at 12/1 [4 places 1/5 odds] that he can bounce back to form in this with the assistance of 5lb claimer Fergus Gillard.

Paying £50K for the then 11yo Sub Lieutenant is interesting and the hope must be that he’ll make the cut for the National though winning this would help recover some of the cost!

16/1 about Ballyoptic in the Rendlesham looks big as he completes his National Prep and I’d not be surprised to see him make the frame.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

The Rendlesham looks trappy, doesn't it? I'm not convinced Itchy Feet will see out the trip. I'd like to see Lisnagar Oscar return to form after wind surgery.

Mulldog said...

It should be a great race. Come on Achille.

GeeDee said...

Fingers crossed, Mully!

Anonymous said...

Great effort by Achille well done.....


GeeDee said...

Lord Du Mensil (8/1) made most in the Grand National Trial with The Two Amigos (13/2) never far away; selection Achille (11/1) was still at the rear of the field as they turned for home for the final time.

Charlie Deutsch made steady, stealthy headway to throw down his challenge to leader Lord Du Mesnil at the final flight as The Two Amigos started to cry enough. I'm sure for a second Achille had his nose in front on the long run to the line but Lord Du Mesnil wasn't to be denied and he picked up again to win half a length with The Two Amigos seven and a half lengths further adrift in third.

A decent effort too from Sub Lieutenant (33/1) in the Swinley Chase at Ascot. He raced in third for much of the trip as Captain Chaos (10/1) and Cobolobo (13/2) went at it hammer and tongs up front. The Lieutenant lost his pitch about a mile from home but then stayed on again to claim a respectable fourth behind Captain Chaos (10/1) who just held the fast finishing Regal Encore (12/1) a head on the line with Musical Slave (11/1) sixteen lengths back in third and there was a further five lengths back to the selection.

GeeDee said...


I was so busy riding an armchair finish on Achille in yesterday's Grand National Trial, I failed to notice your top-rated Ramses De Teillee (15/2) stay on well to claim fourth, beaten just over ten lengths.

Nice place return - a decent weight-carrying performance all told.

Anonymous said...

Vertem Eider Handicap Chase

166,BIG RIVER(IRE),17.4
166,SALTY BOY(IRE),8.5
161,HAUL US IN(IRE),0.4

11YO Crosspark running off a career high mark of 150 surely not? But with most of his rivals having one or more questions to answer it is perhaps not beyond the realms of possibility.

I've probably jumped in too early odds wise but I'm hopeful 6/1 4 places 1/5 odds will produce some sort of return!

Good luck if playing in this race.


GeeDee said...

Many thanks for your ratings, TW.
Just writing up this race now - I'll include your ratings in the main post.

I'm a big Crosspark fan and, as you say, there are doubts surrounding all the runners.
A difficult renewal and I know it looks improbable but at a double figure price I'm tempted by ...Strong Economy each-way.


Good luck!

Anonymous said...

More than happy for you to include the ratings in your main post but please don't feel any obligation to....there not worth much!

I posted them early just because of Crosspark...I've not checked every post you've written but Crosspark must have got as many column inches as almost any other horse!

Strong Economy comes into the race in grand form and I'd not be too worried about the 4lb rise in weights but the system does see the rise in class as a negative.

Best of luck.


GeeDee said...

Good luck, TW!