Vintage Clouds to sidestep the Grand National

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Vintage Clouds was an emphatic winner of the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
Vintage Clouds was an emphatic winner of the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

Vintage Clouds will sidestep this year’s Grand National and instead target other big prizes in the spring, according to Trevor Hemmings’ racing manager Mick Meagher.

The ten-year-old was a dominant winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase in testing conditions at Haydock, a race which can act as an indicator for Aintree.

However, he’s had two unpleasant experiences over the National Course so far, including when pulling up in last month’s Becher Chase, and Meagher confirmed that they would head elsewhere with him in the spring.

He told the Jumps Racing Podcast: “He won’t go to the National. We ran him in it last year and through no fault of his own he over-jumped the first and fell, and whether he remembered it or what I don’t know, but he didn’t want to be there when we ran him in the Becher. 

“He just didn’t look happy and basically pulled-up, so we won’t be going back there.”

He added that he could instead return to the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, a race in which he was an excellent second last year behind Beware The Bear

“He could go to the Ultima, and could possibly come back here in a month for the Grand National Trial. Three and a half miles on heavy ground would suit him, so possibly that followed by Cheltenham, while the Scottish Grand National is also an option - as is the handicap at Aintree.”

Trevor Hemmings is a three-time winner of the Grand National, and one horse who Meagher confirmed is heading for Merseyside is Lake View Lad, who had a rather luckless experience in the race last year.

He said: “Lake View Lad’s plan is to go to the National. He’s in good form and ran well (in the Rowland Meyrick) on Boxing Day at Wetherby last time out.”

He added that he would likely be sent over timber in order to protect his handicap mark, with the weights due out in a month or so;

“He’s high enough in the weights as he is, so he’ll probably have a run over hurdles at the end of the month at Kelso, and then maybe back there for one of those conditions races, before heading straight to Aintree.”

You can listen to the interview in full on the Jumps Racing Podcast, which will be available on Soundcloud, Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube on Tuesday 21st January. 

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