Lord Du Mesnil likely to swerve Grand National engagement

Lord Du Mesnil produced another fine performance in attritional conditions at Haydock on Saturday.
Lord Du Mesnil produced another fine performance in attritional conditions at Haydock on Saturday.

Richard Hobson has hinted that the Grand National may come a little too soon for Lord Du Mesnil this year, after his fine effort to finish second in the trial for that race at Haydock on Saturday.

The seven-year-old has come a long way in a short space of time so far this term, picking up a notable double at Haydock over the festive period and improving by over 30 lb in the handicap in the process.

It looked as though he would extend his winning sequence to four on Saturday, too, having jumped the final fence with a solid lead, before being reeled in by the bottom weight Smooth Stepper in the final 100 yards. 

And although Hobson was delighted with the run, he suggested that Aintree may come a little too soon for his star at this point in his career. 

He said: “We’ve got a dream horse, and I think that the National might just be a year too early for him this year. I’d say we probably won’t go unless it was monsoon conditions, and we’ll probably give it a miss.

“We’ve got four or five years ahead of us with a lovely horse, and we’re just going to enjoy him and make sure that he’s happy and he’s right and that the lads are having a good time with him.”

Hobson explained that it was difficult not to be pleased with Saturday’s run, after a less than ideal preparation in the run-up to the race.

He said: “We’ve been really up against it; he did something silly in the stable probably about 10 days after he won The Last Fling Chase. 

“We came to him at about seven o’clock at night and he was holding his leg up; he’d hurt himself and that took a week to get over, then we got an abscess, so we couldn’t train him for the best part of two to three weeks.

“This race was coming up rapidly, and I said to the lads that we’ve only got 17 days to get him back, and it may just be a bit tight. I would say that’s what ultimately caught him out here.

“His enthusiastic style of running and his jumping in that ground today just means that we missed that week of work really.”

He added that he was keen for Lord Du Mesnil to head to the Cheltenham Festival next, though his participation may be dependant on the rain continuing to fall.

He said: “We’re happy with what he’s done here considering what he was up against, and I would say hopefully if we get the ground at Cheltenham, the National Hunt Chase would be his ideal race. Conditions are key with this horse, but if it keeps raining like it has done we’ll go there.”

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