The 2009 Grand National runner Ollie Magern heads to Wetherby this weekend in search of a fourth track victory and a third in the Charlie Hall Chase. All of his last three wins have come at the venue, including victories in the feature race in 2005 and 2007. At age 11, the gelding is unlikely to go off as favourite but owner Roger Nicholls is quietly confident.
“The ground shouldn’t be a problem and I went to see him work on Tuesday. It went well, and they seem to be very happy with him.” said Nicholls.
“I’ve had the trophy at home twice. Some very good horses have won it but I haven’t seen another horse on there who has won it three times. He knows his way around there and because he hasn’t won for two years, he only has 11st on his back, rather than 11st 10lb like last year.”
He added: “Nigel Twiston-Davies hasn’t quite had the flying start he usually has, but he’s still having winners. I’m quietly confident and I think he’s going to be there or thereabouts.” If Ollie Magern is to make it a hat-trick then he will have to head a field of five that includes the Betfair Chase winner, Snoopy Loopy but no Paul Nicholls’ horses, after the champion trainer withdrew Just Amazing, Gwanako and ante-post favourite What A Friend.
The other runners are Evan Williams’ Deep Purple, Irish veteran Church Island and the winner of the Victor Chandler Chase, Tamarinbleu. The ground has been described as good, good to firm in places and the race is set to go off at 14:55 on Saturday.