Improving Sego can taste Saturday Success in the Betfred Grand National trialPublished February 15, 2016
Saturday’s Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park looks to be as difficult a jigsaw to piece together as the big Aintree showpiece itself.
By definition the race is actually not a good trial for the Liverpool marathon, with Party Politics being the last winner to go on to land one of horse racing’s biggest and best-known prizes, back in 1993! Last year’s winner, Lie Forrit, did not run in the Grand National but third-placed Monbeg Dude did and finished a highly creditable third.
Philips Hobbs has a potentially well handicapped runner in the shape of Kruzhlinin. The German bred nine-year-old is clearly fragile and he has made just three racecourse appearances since finishing tenth in the 2014 Grand National. Raced just once in 2015 and 2016 and having recently joined Hobbs from Donald McCain, he was an impressive and well backed winner of a 3-mile Kempton chase at the start of January.
Kruzhlinin is disputing early favouritism with Mountainous who shouldered 11st 4lb in this race last year (finishing a well beaten sixth of seven runners) but is set to carry just 10st 9lb for in-form trainer Kerry Lee on Saturday. Having slipped down to an official rating of 132 (from a high of 144) the 11-year-old was entitled to win his second Welsh National at the turn of the year. He will run off of 142 on Saturday and it must be pointed out all four of his chase wins have come on heavy ground.
With a lot less miles on his clock and on an upward curve, the Alan King trained SEGO SUCCESS could be the answer. A 13 race career has yielded four wins, three of them over the chase fences.
The 8-year-old may have only got to the second fence when falling last time but that could have been a blessing in disguise as his handicap mark of 146 remains unchanged. His prior outing, over three miles at Doncaster, saw him make all and find plenty up the testing run-in to win like a horse with a lot more petrol left in his tank.