Saint Are ,who finished a fine second to Many Clouds in the 2015 Randox Health Grand National, is all set for his fourth challenge at the world’s greatest chase, which takes place at Aintree on Saturday, April 8.
Run over four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards and 30 fences, the famous handicap chase offers total prize money of £1 million and is by far the richest Jump race staged outside of Japan.
11-year-old Saint Are ran his best race of the season so far when staying on strongly under top-weight of 11st 12lb to finish the head runner-up to Killala Quay in a veterans’ handicap chase over three miles at Doncaster on February 22.
Saint Are has a great record at the Randox Health Grand National Festival, having won the G1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle back in 2011, while he also landed a Listed handicap chase over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay Course on Grand National Day in 2012.
He has competed three times in the Randox Health Grand National, also finishing ninth to Auroras Encore in 2013 and being pulled up before the last fence in 2016.
Gloucestershire-based Tom George said: “It was a great run from Saint Are at Doncaster on Wednesday.”
“It is coming into his time of year, as he loves the better ground. He was only beaten a head at Doncaster, under a big weight, which gets him back on track and spot on where we want to be.”
“I did give him an entry in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival just to keep his options open – we needed to get a run into before Aintree and just had to have a back-up in case something happened at Doncaster.”
“Obviously, I need to have a word with his owner (David Fox) but Aintree is our priority.”
“The ground just went again in the Grand National last year. He is fine on good to soft but once it gets softer than that (the going was soft in the 2016 Grand National), he does start to struggle.”
Saint Are, allotted 10st 5lb for the 2017 Randox Health Grand National, is a 40/1 chance with Betway, the official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Harry Trapper is expected to go very close Saturday at Newbury in the Veterans Handicap Chase over 3m2f.
Back next Thursday