Have you picked who you are backing for this year’s Grand National yet? One option many of you may have overlooked is the Paul Nicholls’ trained Vicente.
Last year’s Scottish Grand National winner definitely has plenty going for it and shouldn’t be passed up easily.
If Vicente does do the business in the feature race on April 8, it will be one hell of a story for new owner, Trevor Hemmings.
2015 winner, Many Clouds, was one of Hemmings’ prized assets before his death at Cheltenham last year.
According to Vicente’s trainer, Paul Nicholls, Vicente was bought to fill the gaping hole Many Clouds left in Hemmings’ racing portfolio.
In his Betfair column, Nicholls wrote: “He (Hemmings) has been an owner of mine for a while and having sadly lost his National winner Many Clouds in January he was looking for a suitable horse for the race.”
Nicholls added that Hemmings love for the Aintree spectacle hasn’t diminished and he believes that Vicente has a decent chance in the race.
He added: “Vicente was for sale, a deal was done and he will now go straight to the National.
“I've trained a number of winners for Trevor, who is an enthusiastic owner, loves the race and enjoys having a runner in it every year.
“He liked the profile of Vicente, who won the Scottish Grand National last season, and is at his best in the spring.”
The horse, which was formerly owned by John Hales and Ian Fogg, ran a great race to win last year’s Scottish Grand National in Ayr. That win in April of last year should have signalled the beginning of a legacy, but Vicente hasn’t been able to match that form in subsequent races.
A fall in the Hennessy at Newbury wasn’t the ideal comeback in November 2016 and things haven’t gotten massively better since either. The horse’s most recent outing in February in Haydock saw her finish well behind the leaders and out of the places.
However, Nicholls and Hemmings remain positive, in part due to the weights allocated. The handicapper has placed Vicente at 10st 9lb for the big race on April 8.
This is a kind handicap considering the horse’s exploits a year earlier; however, that form will have to be at least matched if Vicente is going to feature in the business end of the National.
The ride is priced at Grand National odds of around 33-1, so could be a decent each way bet for punters. It would be a fantastic end to a very sad story for Trevor Hemmings if she could do the business.
Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, many will be wishing him well after the tragedy of Many Clouds.
Picture by: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images