Blaklion ready for Becher test ahead of Grand National
Last Updated: 06/12/17 6:43pm
Nigel Twiston-Davies still feels Blaklion could be the horse to provide him with a third Grand National ahead of the Randox Health Becher Chase over the famous Aintree fences on Saturday.
Successful in the National twice already with Earth Summit and Bindaree, for most of the extended four and a quarter miles last April Blaklion looked sure to add to the Twiston-Davies tally, only to fade in the final couple of furlongs, finishing fourth to One For Arthur.
He showed plenty of promise on his seasonal return behind stablemate Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the fact the Becher is over a mile less than the National should play to his strengths.
"We've got to keep trying. We don't do anything different when training a National horse, all you can do is get them as fit as you can," said Twiston-Davies as he opened up his yard to the press.
"Experience over the fences helps, his jumping was brilliant in the National, you'd be more confident than if he hadn't been over the fences before. The Becher was the obvious race to aim at, he handles the fences and it's shorter."
He added: "If he romps home, do we maybe start looking at him as a Gold Cup horse? I don't know."
Twiston-Davies has enjoyed a marvellous start to the campaign and one horse who has played his part is BetVictor Gold Cup winner Splash Of Ginge, who could be another player come April.
"We will see how his next couple of races go, but Splash Of Ginge could be given a Grand National entry. John (Neild, owner) is a Liverpudlian and wants to have a go. Why not? He has had a bet and will win a million quid if he wins," said the trainer.
"Splash Of Ginge will go for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup next week, provided there is some rain. If it doesn't rain, he will go for the Welsh National where it should be soft ground, which will suit him.
"Certainly over two and a half miles, he would need very testing ground. Over longer, he doesn't."
Neild said: "The bet does not change our thinking about the Grand National. I always say to Nige that you can't make the horse fit the race. He was out of form, but seems to have his confidence back now over fences.
"He just needs his ground. We were lucky the other day to get it in the BetVictor Gold Cup when the rain came. If it happens to rain around the second Saturday in April, we will be there to have a go.
"We have been more than lucky to have won what we have but if anyone can pull out a Grand National win with this horse, it is Nige."