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2019 Haydock Grand National Trial - Two against the field for Saturday's feature race on Merseyside

Brian Healy 14 Feb 2019
Haydock host the Grand National Trial on Saturday.

Brian Healy takes a look ahead to Haydock's Saturday feature race, the Grand National Trial, and he picks out two against the field who could post big runs.

 A cracking card at Haydock on Saturday features the latest renewal of the Grand National Trial, and a gruelling extended 3m 4f contest will go to post at 3.15pm on a top-class afternoon on Merseyside.

A potential field of 20 runners will face the starter, each bidding to claim the £56,000-plus first prize and potentially book a slot at Aintree for the Grand National proper in April.

Yala Enki (8/1, BetVictor) is back to defend the crown he won twelve months ago in impressive fashion, where the Nickname gelding bolted up to score by more than 50 lengths from Blaklion in attritional conditions where only three horses completed the course. 

He’ll do well to follow up here however despite returning in good form this campaign with a win at Bangor and finishing third in the Welsh Grand National with the handicapper pushing him up a further 2lbs in the weights.

He is 10lbs higher now than when winning this race last year, and he’ll need a career-best effort if he’s to get back to winning ways and mount a successful title defence. Given the yard’s capabilities with mud loving stayers however, it is a case of never say never and he has looked as good as ever in his two starts this term so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go well.

RAMSES DE TEILLEE (13/2, BetVictor) is only 1lb higher in the weights than when finishing just over one length runner-up behind Elegant Escape in the Welsh Grand National back in December, and a repeat of that run could see David Pipe’s charge go close.

The Martaline gelding has often shaped as if he would develop into a smart chaser, and last campaign saw the grey win twice from nine starts - both at Chepstow - in novice handicap company prior to posting a creditable seventh of 18 runners behind Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

The Pipe runner may have found the ground too lively when disappointing at Cheltenham in the Grade Two Silver Trophy Chase behidn Traffic Fluide, finishing ninth, and he turned in a solid reappearance effort despite probably needing the run behind Present Man in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton.

Having had wind surgery in the interim, he finished fifth to Paul Nicholls’ charge, beaten around 16 lengths, and he got back to winning ways on his next outing back at Chepstow when beating Prime Venture by two lengths.

There was little wrong with his run in the Welsh Grand National, where despite carrying 4lbs extra he finished clear of third-placed Yala Enki and Ballyoptic, who finished sixth. He might well have won had he not made a bad mistake four out when still travelling strongly, and that probably told in the end although he was finishing off well.

The less testing surface shouldn’t be too much of a concern, and proven at the trip he can give another good account.

Ramses De Teillee can post a big run in Saturday's Grand National Trial at Haydock.

IMPULSIVE STAR (9/1, BetVictor) saw off reopposing stablemate Carole’s Destrier (fourth) when winning the Classic Chase at Warwick last month, and Neil Mulholland’s charge can continue to build on some promising performances over the larger obstacles to mount a challenge.

A faller on his debut over fences at Catterick, he was then beaten only a head at the same venue next time prior to being readily beaten behind Ramses De Teillee at Chepstow on his third start. However, he left those efforts behind when finishing fourth in the National Hunt Chase on his final start of the campaign, although he was no match for the winner and trailed in almost 25 lengths adrift.

Having found only Ok Corral too strong on his reappearance at Plumpton in December, he posted an impressive success at Warwick, rallying strongly having been headed jumping the second last to get back on terms and ridden out to the line he appeared to win with something to spare.

The handicapper has reacted by pushing the Busy Flight gelding 6lbs up the ratings, but the manner of that Warwick success suggested that there could still be more to come from the lightly-raced nine-year old who remains relatively unexposed as a staying chaser.

He has shown over hurdles and fences that underfoot conditions don’t faze him, and while he probably needs to find a shade more in order to follow up it wouldn’t come as a great surprise to see him step up again on the back of that Warwick success where he can post another big run.

Classic Chase winner Impulsive Star (nearest) could follow up his success with a win on Saturday.


RAMSES DE TEILLEE (13/2, BetVictor), IMPULSIVE STAR (9/1, BetVictor

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2019 Haydock Grand National Trial - Two against the field for Saturday's feature race on Merseyside

Brian Healy takes a look ahead to Haydock's Saturday feature race, the Grand National Trial, and he picks out two against the field who could post big runs.

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