With the Becher Chase taking place tomorrow and the big Christmas festivals fast approaching, plenty of potential Grand National runners are on the path to Aintree. Against all of the odds, Mr Diablo may be a contender on April 6th 2019.
Trained by Philip Dempsey, Mr Diablo suffered a horrendous injury when running at Killarney in May of last year. The nine-year-old shattered his carpal bone and his future looked bleak. But with incredible medical intervention Mr Diablo was nursed back to full health at the Fethard Equine Hospital.
Following a 544 day break from racing, he made his seasonal return at Naas on November 10th. While he didn't win, he successfully got around the course with jockey Rachael Blackmore on board. He then headed back out to Navan on November 25th. That was a much better performance and Mr Diablo claimed second place in the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase.
Clearly not resting on his laurels, Mr Diablo will back in action again tomorrow at Navan in the Foxrock Handicap Chase. Another solid run from the chaser and his claims for the Grand National may well be entertained. If that's the path connections want to take then a few more runs and wins is imperative. At the moment, despite running well, Mr Diablo doesn't have a rating that would see him comfortably make the cut.
Philip Dempsey said: “I’d imagine we’ll aim towards the Paddy Power Chase in Leopardstown over Christmas as long as the ground isn’t too heavy and it would be nice to think he could be a National horse.
“It would be great to have a go at the National with him, but we’ll take it one race at a time and see how we go.”
Another potential runner eyeing up a trip over the Grand National fences is Traffic Fluide. Trained by Gary Moore, the eight-year-old is in tremendous form. He finished last season with back-to-back hurdle wins at Plumpton and Cheltenham and made his seasonal debut at Chepstow on October 13th. Connections had to be happy with a second place finish but last time out he went one better and bagged the win at Ascot on November 3rd.
Now on a short break, trainer Moore said: Moore said: “The main plan is still the Grand National and he won’t run until about a month before it.
“He’ll have an away day somewhere and we’ll just do whatever is right by the horse.
“He’s taken the race at Ascot very well. I’ve never trained one for the National before, but I do feel he is made for it.”