Haydock Grand National Trial Day Preview
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Haydock Grand National Trial Day Preview

It's Grand National Trial Day at Haydock on Saturday, although the meeting will need to pass a precautionary inspection at 8am due to the threat of Storm Eunice. The seven-race jumps card takes place from 1.00pm-4.25pm and conditions are set to be testing as the official going is described as heavy, soft in places on the hurdle course. The Racing Post previews what should be a thrilling day of racing from Haydock.


1.00 - William Hill Cheltenham Non-Runner Money Back Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m4f)

Just three runners line up for the opening race of the afternoon in a handicap chase for novices. ADRIMEL is the stand-out runner in the field as he is rated as high as 139. As a result of his latest mark, Tom Lacey's chaser will need to concede a lot of weight to his rivals here.

The seven-year-old broke his maiden at this course on his second start over fences in a contest over the extended 2m trip. The first-time blinkers seemed to make a big difference and they remain on again, as he looks to defy a 4lb rise in the weights.

Shaman Du Berlais has had three appearances over fences so far this season and he should prove to be the biggest threat to Adrimel in this small field.

Selection: Adrimel

Next Best: Shaman Du Berlais

1.30 - William Hill Super Odds Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle (1m7½f)

Triumph Hurdle contender PORTICELLO will get the chance to enhance his reputation here ahead of the juvenile race at the Festival next month. Gary Moore's hurdler is clearly of the highest level as he won a Grade One contest at Chepstow on his latest start.

The four-year-old has suffered defeat just once in his four appearances so far and was successful in France before moving to Moore's yard. The way he blew his rivals away at the Welsh racecourse back in December suggests he is a serious Triumph contender. Expect to see him add to his account in this latest assignment.

Skycutter is another one of these runners who has a Cheltenham Festival entry. He was a long way behind Porticello at Chepstow. Philip Kirby's hurdler is the pick of the opposition and is likely to be the one to chase the Grade One winner home.

Selection: Porticello

Next Best: Skycutter

2.05 - William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2, 3m½f)

This is the first of two Grade Two contests on the card at Haydock. It should be an interesting dual between the experienced operator THOMAS DARBY and the improving mare Molly Ollys Wishes.

Thomas Darby won the biggest prize of his career early this season when he landed the Long Distance Hurdle. He defeated the likes of Paisley Park, Mrs Milner and Lisnagar Oscar at Newbury.

Olly Murphy's runner was unable to follow up in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, but once again, he proved he was one of the leading staying hurdlers in the UK. This assignment will be a tad easier for the nine-year-old, who is the one they all have to beat.

Dan Skelton is represented by Molly Ollys Wishes. The mare won at this level for the first time last month when she beat her own sex at Ascot. She will need step up again to add to her account, but that improvement can't be ruled out.

Selection: Thomas Darby

Next Best: Molly Ollys Wishes

2.40 - William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Grade 3 - 3m4½f)

Former winners of this race include Red Rum, Cool Ground and Party Politics. However, none have been able to prevail and then win the Grand National in the same season.

At the age 13, BLAKLION has been rolling back the years this season. He comes into this race looking to complete a hat-trick at this course. Dan Skelton's grand servant won a veterans' race over 3m1½f back in December. He then followed that up with a demolition of the field in a handicap chase (3m4½f), scoring by 28 lengths.

The former RSA Chase and Becher Chase winner will relish the conditions in this race. Based on his peak form, he is well in at the weights. He could be set to give his connections another big success in this Grade Three contest.

Former Welsh Grand National winner Secret Reprieve clearly demands a lot of respect. He should come on for his run at Chepstow back in December. That was his first outing in just short of a year.

Evan Williams' runner needs some luck to get into the Grand National field in April. A bold run is likely from the staying chaser.

Selection: Blaklion

Next Best: Secret Reprieve

3.15 - Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3m½f)

This is the most competitive race on this card at Haydock, but it is also a great opportunity for SMALL PRESENT to follow up from his C&D success here last month.

Claimer Thomas Willmott timed his run perfectly on Sue Smith's runner, as he got up just in time. The margin of victory may had been bigger had he not gone through the final hurdle in that race.

The handicapper has put the seven-year-old up 4lb, which seems very fair. This race could have a lot of early pace in it and he should benefit from that with another late surge to the finish line.

Tokyo Getaway was less than a length behind Small Present in second place at this course on their latest appearance. This horse has produced two encouraging performances since moving to James Moffatt's yard.

The former Irish raider remains off a mark which makes him competitive. He will be very familiar with this course now, as he bids for his first success in the UK.

Selection: Small Present

Next Best: Tokyo Getaway

3.50 - Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2 - 3m½f)

HILLCREST was very unlucky to lose his 100% record over hurdles last time out at Cheltenham in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. He unseated his rider, Richard Patrick, at the third fence when a faller came down in front of him.

Henry Daly's talented novice hurdler will get another opportunity to score at this level, and as long as he does not get any bad luck again, he should be able to take it. Prior to that appearance at Prestbury Park, he had improved in each run over hurdles.

The seven-year-old gelding has an entry in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Festival. If he impresses here over this longer trip, it could be the latter he lines up in next month.

Trainer Venetia Williams is in excellent form at the moment, and she will be confident of a big run from Green Book. The five-year-old won a Grade Three contest at Sandown earlier this month. He may need to improve again but he still looks unexposed.

Selection: Hillcrest

Next Best: Green Book

4.25 - Pertemps Network Walrus Open Hunters' Chase (2m6f)

There is a hunters' chase to conclude the card at Haydock and it represents a great chance for C&D winner BOB AND CO to add to his account. This horse has become a specialist in these sorts of races over the last couple of seasons.

Paul Nicholls' runner is a former Grade One runner is France, so he is not short of class. He is the highest rated horse in the field, and he can take advantage of these level weights.

Cousin Pascal should be in the mix at the finish. He caused a huge surprise in the Foxhunters' Chase last season at odds of 66/1. The 10-year-old is bidding to go one place better than his runner-up finish at Hereford last month.

Selection: Bob And Co

Next Best: Cousin Pascal




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