Writing on his website blog earlier this week trainer David Pipe ran through his plans for the 2014 Aintree Festival including his hopes for the 2014 Grand National.
With four contenders still in the mix, only two are now guaranteed a spot, The Package and Our Father, and while Swing Bill has climbed the list he is currently sitting as a reserve until the final declarations are made tomorrow.
By his own admission Standing Ovation has very little chance of making the cut with Pipe writing: “There is no hope that Standing Ovation will get in.”
But plans for Swing Bill are a little more flexible with the trainer advising that should he not run in the Grand National, despite finishing 10th in 2012 and 6th in 2013, “He will run instead in the Topham Chase, also over the National fences on Friday.”
It's easy to see that David Pipe, who won the Grand National with Comply Or Die back in 2008, really does enjoy the National and the festival overall and made an interesting point about the comparison between Aintree and Cheltenham stating:
“The atmosphere at Aintree is much different to the pressure cooker environment that is the Cheltenham Festival.
“Without wishing to impugn the efforts of everyone at the Liverpool track (because they do a wonderful job), the profession has become such that your season is almost exclusively measured not by the number of winners you have trained or prize money you have accumulated, but how you did at the Cheltenham Festival.
“You can train hundreds of winners through the course of the season, but if you have not had a Festival winner, somehow it is a disappointment.
“That means the meeting at Aintree is a much more enjoyable, social affair.”
Enjoyable and social it may be but there's also a million pounds up for grabs on Saturday and with jockey Tom Scudamore booked to ride 28/1 The Package, Pipe is probably hoping that it's coming his way!
For all of the latest odds for the 2014 Grand National, click here.