17.11.08 - THE GRAND NATIONAL, RACING AT AINTREE
MANGAN PRIMES HIMALAYAN TRAIL FOR THE totesport.com BECHER CHASE AT AINTREE
Jimmy Mangan scaled the heights of John Smith’s Grand National glory when Monty’s Pass won the world’s most famous steeplechase in 2003 and the County Cork trainer is plotting further Aintree success with Himalayan Trail, who is among 28 entries for the fantastic £120,000 Listed totesport.com Becher Chase on Sunday, November 23.
The prestigious three and a quarter mile contest, staged over the spectacular Grand National course, is the premier trial for Aintree’s April showpiece and takes place on day two of the Northwest Racing Masters.
Himalayan Trail landed an impressive victory in the John Smith’s Midlands Grand National over an extended four miles and one furlong at Uttoxeter in March when trained by Sue Smith. The lightly-raced nine-year-old passed through the Doncaster Sale ring in May, when he sold for £130,000.
The gelding made his seasonal debut for new owner Mark Gittins under top-weight in the Cork National on November 2. Himalayan Trail pleased connections despite pulling up with two fences still to jump in the race won by Alickadoo, who scored under a featherweight of 9st 7lb.
Mangan revealed today: "At the moment the plan is to take Himalayan Trail to Aintree for the totesport.com Becher Chase. He has the alternative of going to Navan for the Troytown Chase but at the moment the plan is Liverpool.
"We bought him at Doncaster Sale in May and he’s had a good summer. His owner has a farm just down the road so he spent the summer there and came back in pretty good shape.
"The horse ran in the Cork National with a huge weight, which was a big ask of him, but Davy Russell was very pleased with him. When he emptied out, Davy eased off and pulled him up. He needed the run but he also had to give two stone and more to some horses, including the winner, and that was an impossible task first time out.
"He ran a cracker to win the Midlands National for Sue Smith but he was only carrying 9st 9lb that day and he beat Badgerlaw who hasn’t set the world on fire yet."
Mangan is hoping that Himalayan Trail can emulate Monty’s Pass and is looking for a big show at Aintree on Sunday.
He continued: "The whole idea behind purchasing him was to go for the John Smith’s Grand National. I think it’s vital to give them a little trip over the course and I think the totesport.com Becher Chase is the ideal opportunity. He’s improved mentally since Cork so I’m hoping for a very big run out of him."
Other entries include the Paul Nicholls-trained Mr Pointment and Gungadu, while Nicky Richards has engaged Faasel.
Philip Hobbs could saddle Monkerhostin, Tom Sayers, Out The Black and Parson’s Legacy, County Durham trainer Howard Johnson has engaged Bafana Boy and Ellerslie George, while Donald McCain could run Bannister Lane and Idle Talk.
The Irish entry also includes the Ted Walsh-trained Southern Vic, the Michael Hourigan-trained A New Story, Hear The Echo, trained by Mouse Morris, and the Dessie Hughes-trained pair of Black Apalachi and Oulart.
Now firmly established as a trial for the John Smith's Grand National, the totesport.com Becher Chase attracts some of jump racing's best known horses. The 2007 John Smith’s Grand National hero Silver Birch landed the totesport.com Becher Chase in 2004, while Amberleigh House was successful in 2001, three years prior to his famous Grand National victory .
Latest totesport prices 5/1 Mr Pointment, 9/1 Gungadu, Irish Raptor, 10/1 Hear The Echo, Idle Talk, 12/1 Always Waining, Parsons Legacy, 14/1 A New Story, Faasel, Iron Man, 16/1 Leading Man, Oulart, Out The Black, Philson Run, Southern Vic, 20/1 Black Apalachi, Himalayan Trail, Monkerhostin, Noir Et Vert, 25/1 Alright Now M'Lad, Bafana Boy, Tom Sayers, 33/1 Bannister Lane, Ivoire De Beaulieu, 40/1 Ellerslie George, Scalloway, 50/1 Le Toscan, 100/1 Finzi Each-way 1/4 - 1, 2, 3, 4
totesport spokesman Damian Walker said: "Mr Pointment is a deserved favourite as he put in a great round of jumping in the totesport Becher Chase last season and if reproduces that effort he will go close again.
"He probably didn't stay when sixth in the John Smith’s Grand National and Paul Nicholls gave him a pipe-opener over hurdles last month so fitness shouldn't be a problem.
"Mr Pointment is 7lb higher than when winning last season's race from Bewleys Berry, but the pair were 19 lengths clear of the third and he could still be on a winning mark."
Sunday’s card at Aintree is the second day of the two-day Northwest Racing Masters, which kicks off at Haydock on Saturday, November 22, when the feature race is the Grade One Betfair Chase.
Aintree’s fantastic six-race line-up also includes the £80,000 totesuper7 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (1.40pm) over two miles, five and a half furlongs of the Grand National course. The 27-strong entry for the race includes the classy Nicky Richards-trained Turpin Green as well as Natal and Gwanako from the Paul Nicholls yard. Donald McCain has engaged Regal Heights, while last year’s winning trainer Jim Goldie could saddle Endless Power.
At Aintree, the going is currently good to soft, soft in places on the Mildmay Course and soft, good to soft in places on the Grand National Course.
Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch said: "We have seen some light rain fall today.
"I have walked round the course today and am very pleased with the state of the ground.
"The forecast is for unsettled weather this week, with some light rain expected."
About the Northwest Racing Masters
The Northwest Racing Masters offers the ideal opportunity to experience the tremendous atmosphere of a day at the races on a great winter warming weekend. On the second day of the Northwest Racing Masters, Aintree will mark the start of the festive period when Father Christmas will pay a visit to the famous racecourse with REAL reindeer! An ice rink with free boot hire is guaranteed to add magic sparkle ahead of the Christmas countdown
Located in one of the most vibrant regions in the country, the Northwest Racing Masters meeting offers a great opportunity to discover England's northwest. It is an ideal time to combine a love of racing with a visit to Liverpool and the rest of the region.
Haydock Park, St Helens, one of the most visited racecourses in the UK, offers first class racing all year round. It is located half-way between Liverpool and Manchester, just off junction 23 of the M6 motorway.
Aintree Racecourse is home to the John Smith's Grand National and is between Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008, and Southport - the perfect destination for a weekend break with beautiful beaches, great attractions and superb shopping.