Vicente (left) on his way to winning last year’s Scottish Grand National
PICTURE:John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 7:24PM 4 MAR 2017
OWNER Trevor Hemmings has bolstered his chances of winning a fourth Randox Health Grand National by purchasing Scottish Grand National winner Vicente.
The eight-year-old was successful at Ayr last spring for Ian Fogg and John Hales, defeating Alvarado by two and three-quarter lengths.
Earlier in his career Vicente was beaten only a length and three-quarters by fellow Grand National hopeful Blaklion in the 2014 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow.
Having suddenly lost his 2015 Aintree hero Many Clouds earlier in the year, Hemmings was looking to add to his string and his racing manager Michael Meagher said on Saturday that Vicente was seen as an attractive proposition.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, Vicente – a best-priced 33-1 for the National – sits 43rd in the weights, meaning he is almost certain to get the chance to follow Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds into the record books for his new owner.
“He’s very likely to get in the Grand National and as an eight-year-old Scottish National winner he’ll obviously stay,” said Meagher.
“The boss loves the Grand National. It was very unfortunate what happened with our good horse earlier in the year, so he was delighted to be able to buy Vicente.”
Vicente will remain with Nicholls, who confirmed he will head straight to Aintree.
“He’s only eight and he’s a very nice horse, so it has worked out well for everybody,” said the champion trainer.
“I’ve trained for Trevor for a number of years. He obviously lost Many Clouds, loves supporting the National and it just so happened Vicente was for sale, so we put everyone together and that was that.”