The lead up to the Grand National starts in earnest in this month. Aintree’s sister racecourse, Haydock Park, hosts the £100,000 G3 Grand National Trial on Saturday, February 16th. A total of 46 entries have been received for the extended three and a half-mile handicap chase, with 23 of those entries also engaged in the Grand National itself, so there will be plenty of clues coming your way.
The Grand National Trial always attracts some of the leading staying chasers and it is viewed as an ideal prep race for the Grand National at Aintree. It must be noted however that no horse has yet won both the Haydock Grand National Trial and the Aintree Grand National in the same season.
The legendary Red Rum ran at Haydock before every one of his five Grand Nationals, of which he won three (1973, 1974 and 1977). Red Rum won the Grand National Trial in 1975 prior to chasing home L'Escargot at Aintree the same year.
Ramses de Teillee, trained by David Pipe, is the 8/1 favourite for the race and he is one of those entered in the Grand National 2019 as well. The seven-year-old's most recent outing came when the length and a quarter runner-up in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
The Pond House trainer has also entered Daklondike (10/1), successful here earlier in the season in the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase over two miles and seven furlongs and the Aintree regular Vieux Lion Rouge (20/1).
The Warren Greatrex-trained Missed Approach (12/1) landed the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
He has made one appearance so far this season, coming home sixth behind Walk In The Mill in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December.
The nine-year-old holds entries in both the Trial, for which he is a 12/1 chance, and the Grand National for which he is quoted at 40/1.
The Venetia Williams-trained Yala Enki (12/1) is back to defend his crown after seeing off Blaklion in last year’s renewal. Yala Enki was last seen when finishing third to Elegant Escape in the Welsh Grand National and will be a popular choice back at Haydock Park.
The Grand National Trial at Haydock has a maximum field of 20 runners and here are the top 20 horses in the weights as revealed on Wednesday 6th February:
- Coneygree (11st 12lb)
- Yala Eki (11st 9lb)
- Ballyoptic (11st 8lb)
- One For Arthur (11st 7lb)
- American (11st 7lb)
- Regal Encore (11st 5lb)
- Royal Vacation (11st 5lb)
- The Last Samuri (11st 4lb)
- Beware The Bear (11st 4lb)
- Wakanda (11st 3lb)
- Ramses de Teillee (11st 2lb)
- Daklondike (11st 1lb)
- Robinsfirth (11st 1lb)
- Ultragold (11st 0lb)
- The Dutchman (11st 0lb)
- Ms Parfois (10st 13lb)
- Vieux Lion Rouge (10st 13lb)
- Missed Approach (10st 12lb)
- Give Me A Copper (10st 12lb)
- Red Infantry (10st 9lb)