Niche Market’s chances at the Grand National are steadily improving and according to trainer Bob Buckler, he is a model horse for the race. His performance in the Newbury Aon Chase in 2009, where he came second to Tricky Trickster, encouraged bookies to make him second favourite for the 2010 race.
At eleven stone four, Niche Market also caused a huge stir when having been one of four reserves for the 2009 Grand National he was denied a run when there were no non-runners. He then went on to win the Irish National in April as a 33-1 shot, chased home by two horses that had started at 50-1.
He was the third English-trained winner of the Irish National in the last six years, and gave trainer Buckler a very welcome taste of fame. Buckler first took out a training licence fifteen years ago, and the prize money of £141,500 for the Irish National was more than he had won in the whole of the previous season. Buckler admitted that not getting to race in the Grand National may have been a blessing in disguise, as the Irish National was much more suitable for him.
Both owner and trainer have always been extremely positive about Niche Market’s prospects, knowing what he is capable of from the offset, he had been entered in big races early on including the Cheltenham National Hunt Chase, in which he came fourth in 2008 and eighth in 2009.
The 2010 Grand National wasn’t his finest hour, when being ridden by Harry Skelton, he didn’t complete the course but the 2011 Grand National was a much more successful affair when he came in fifth place, bagging an each-way win for those who had backed him on Paddy Power Bookmakers. Carrying 10-13 and once again with Harry Skelton on board he had a clean well ridden race which bodes well for the 2012 Grand National should he be entered again.