Lake View Lad to head straight to Aintree

On March 10, 2020 by Tim Newman

He may be a mere 50/1 outsider in the latest Grand National 2020 betting odds, but Lake View Lad will have a second crack at the Aintree fences next month, following the disappointment of pulling up at last year’s race.

It has also recently been revealed that the Nick Alexander-trained 10-year-old will head straight to the Grand National, and miss out on a run at the Cheltenham Festival, following a sinus issue.  

Lake View Lad is currently in the entries list for the Festival Trophy on the opening day of the prestigious four-day meeting at Prestbury Park – however, at a price of 20/1, the grey isn’t fancied. Discussing the problem, trainer Alexander said

“He’s in at Cheltenham (in the Ultima Handicap Chase), but I think we’ll go straight to Aintree with him,” previously adding: “He’s fine, but he had a small sinus issue – he’d have probably run in the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday if it hadn’t been for that, which is a bit annoying.” 

The slight set-back shouldn’t interfere with his preparations, and he is back in training. Alexander also revealed the team are happy with heading straight to Aintree, despite Lake View Lad’s last race over hurdles coming over a month ago. He was beaten in the Handicap Hurdle at Kelso, recording a third-place finish, with regular jockey Henry Brooke in the saddle. 

Earlier in the year, it was revealed that connections of the grey were going to bide their time and wait until the Grand National weights were revealed, before deciding on the best route of preparation for Lake View Lad.

The 10-year-old was allocated 10:8 in the weight handicap, the same weight as stablemate Vintage CloudsJury Duty and Crievehill, but has dropped the pounds since his last run-out at Aintree, where he lumbered 11:1 around the track. While the odds are not in his favour, carrying a lighter weight and not being thrust into the limelight as one of the favourites may go in his advantage. 

He was well-fancied in the build-up to the National last year, before pulling up four fences from home – but connections are hoping that experience stands him in good stead this time around. After the race, Alexander, Trevor Hemmings and co. suggested the ground was too hard and despite the turf last year being good to soft, it wasn’t soft enough. 

This season, Lake View Lad has placed twice on soft ground, at the aforementioned Hurdles race at Kelso, and the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day. Despite not winning a race since December 2018, he looks to be making a return to form, since being hampered at last year’s National. 

Owner Hemmings will be searching for his fourth success in the Aintree showpiece, following wins in 2005 with Hedgehunter, 2011 with Ballbriggs and 2015 with Many Clouds. As things stand, Hemmings will enter three horses and his best chance of victory is with Vintage Clouds, who famously took an early lead last year before falling at the first fence. With the second scratchings deadline on March 17th, and the five-day confirmation at the end of the month, there’s sure to be a twist in the tale before the final 40 horses line-up on April 2nd.

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