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18 Feb 2017

Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

A race that can be run in bottomless conditions, it's been dry all week and this year's renewal is due to take place on ground described at good to soft. At Haydock that usually means it will be pretty dead and a decent test, but much will depend on how far the course has dried out.

Setting aside renewals run on extremes of going, winners this century break down into 2 camps: unexposed runners with 3 to 6 previous chase starts and further up the road, low mileage, proven high class stayers with 10 to 14 chase runs. Age is immaterial, but whichever camp you choose it often pays to shoulder less than 10-12. Since 2000, if you backed everything blindly that met these criteria and went off up to 16/1, you would be circa. 9 wins from 29 qualifiers, LSP of +£63.00.

There's only one qualifier this year, our pal VINTAGE CLOUDS - last seen running (and falling) with credit in the Peter Marsh Chase. That runs needs marking up as he was 6lbs out of the handicap and raced prominently throughout, which in hindsight was a classy effort going with Bristol De Mai and Otago Trail, who has already come out and posted an RPR of 162 on next start.

Of the higher weights I am also quite sweet on VINCENTE for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies. Vincente fits the low mileage, proven high class stayer mould - he won the Scottish National last year - and is fully fit after three starts this season, and now the National weights have been published the handbrake can come off. Properly high class horses do successfully carry more than 11-00 and Vincente who prefers decent ground gives us some cover if the course has dried out more than assumed.

1pt win Vintage Clouds, 8/1 various
0.5pt EW Vincente, 14/1 various 3x1/4

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

** Vintage Clouds stayed on dourly for 3rd, ran his race. Nicholls very bullish about Vincente pre-race, but back to the drawing board for that one **


Trevor Hemmings and Paul Nicholls

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