One of the nation’s greatest sporting occasions, the Aintree Grand National, takes place on Saturday 14th April. Horse-racing fans and casual once-a-year punters around Wellington have a local horse to back in Vieux Lion Rouge, trained by David Pipe at Pond House, his Nicholashayne stable just outside Wellington.
The horse has run in the last two Grand Nationals finishing 7th in 2016 and 6th last year. David Pipe says, “He has run well in the last two renewals, he is in very good order and I am hopeful of another big run from him.”
In the last week Pipe’s horses have been schooled by jockeys Joe Tizzard and Henry Cobden over prepared examples of Aintree’s demanding fences at Nicholashayne during the run-up to the event.
The trainer has entries across the three-day meeting. David Pipe said, “Weather depending, we will have runners during the course of the meeting, including some of those that were stuck in the mud at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
“The National course itself is already considerably better than at Cheltenham and with a largely dry week forecast in the Liverpool area it has every chance of drying further still.
“Of those that did not appreciate the Cheltenham going, Vaniteux, Mr Big Shot, Moon Racer and King’s Socks all hold engagements at Aintree, although Vaniteux would almost certainly prefer it much faster still. Contrarily, the softer the ground the better for Eamon An Cnoic, who is entered in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at 1.45 on Friday 13th April.”
The trainer last won the Grand National in 2008 with Comply Or Die. He will be hoping that Vieux Lion Rouge repeats that success and delights local punters. Odds on Vieux Lion Rouge are currently 33-1.