Haydock hosts the Betfred Grand National Trial on Saturday afternoon, a three and a half miles on testing ground which will give those horses entered in the 2013 Grand National a decent blow out before the Aintree showpiece in April. There are some doubty stayers in the field of fourteen including two former winners in Silver By Nature (2010, 2011) and Giles Cross (2012). However, it's the Venetia Williams trained Rigadin De Beauchene who heads the betting with the sponsors Betfred at 4/1.
In the week that the 2013 Grand National weights were announced, there are just two of Saturday's field who are entered in the big race at Aintree. One of those is Teaforthree trained by Rebecca Curtis who is battling it out for favourtism for Saturday's race. The nine year old was runner-up in the Welsh National last month and he's joint fourth favourite for the Grand National at odds of 16/1 with Betfred. The Curtis trained nine year old was given 10-13 for the National but that's sure to rise given top weight Tidal Bay's defection due to injury.
With Saturday in mind, Teaforthree has a whopping 11-11 to carry round a notoriously tough Haydcok going, second only in the handicap to former dual winner Silver By Nature. The Gelding will stay the trip, having won the four mile Challenge Cup Chase in 2012 and he finished 8th at Cheltenham on his seasonal reappearance in a three mile, three furlong handicap. That was very much a blow out with the Welsh National in mind and he ran a huge race there only to be beaten half a length by Monbeg Dude who reopposes on Saturday. He was giving the winner eight pounds that day and although he looks the class runner in the field, you just wonder if he'll run this race with Aintree in mind and not want to have too hard a round.
Another Grand National hope Katenko had been the ante-post favourite for Saturday's race but was scratched at the five day declaration stage. However, step forward another Venetia Williams trained horse in the shape of Rigadin De Beauchene to take up the favourite mantle, as short as 4/1 in the betting with Betfred. The French bred eight year old will carry a lightweight 10-5 for Saturday's renewal with conditional jockey Robert Dunne also claiming five pounds. He has form over three miles and five furlongs so the trip shouldn't be a problem and the form of his win in the Classic Chase at Warwick last month was franked when Godsmejudge won well at the weekend.
Next in the betting is the Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude trained by Michael Scudamore. A winner on his last two starts, Paul Carberry is booked to ride the eight year old again on Saturday. The 11/2 chance has been given a ten pound hike for that win at Chepstow last month, although you wonder how much a race like that can take out of a horse.
7/1 chance Well Refreshed could be aptly named for a crack at this marathon. The nine year old has run five times this season and when he's completed the race he's won, scoring three times, falling once and unseating his rider in the other. Joshua Moore once again takes the ride for his father Gary claiming three pounds and a repeat of his winning form over Rigadin De Beauchene in December could see him go close, although he has gone up 21 pounds since that victory.
Giles Cross and Cannington Brook can both be found near the top of the handicap and are both priced at 8/1 with Betfred for Saturday's race. Both horses a course winners, Giles Cross a victor here twelve months ago whilst Cannington Brook won here over three miles in December.
Further down the betting two time winner Silver By Nature returns in search of a third win in the race, but off top weight and a 679 day lay-off you'd be taking a punt on the Lucinda Russell grey at 14/1. Nigel Twiston-Davies trains Viking Blond who is the other horse in the field with a Grand National entry, priced up at 16/1 for Saturday's renewal, he was a faller in last year's National and pulled up in the Welsh National at Christmas.
This looks a competitive race as ever, but the favourite Rigadin De Beachene does look to have a few things in his favour and that Warwick winning form has been franked so expect another good run here.
4/1 Rigadin De Beauchene
11/2 Monbeg Dude
7/1 Well Refreshed
8/1 Giles Cross
8/1 Cannington Brook
14/1 Silver By Nature
16/1 Viking Blond
16/1 Neptune Equester
20/1 Mac Aeda
25/1 Lively Baron
25/1 Trigger The Light
Odds supplied by Betfred.com, with best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
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