Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan dare do no more than dream about winning the Coral Welsh Grand National, as he looks forward to saddling Looksnowtlikebrian in the Chepstow marathon.
The Aberthin handler is just pleased to have a runner in Wales’ most prestigious race – and one that goes there with a decent chance on Thursday.
Looksnowtlikebrian has valuable course experience and heads to the Monmouthshire venue on the back of two wins at Carlisle this autumn.
Vaughan said: “We’re obviously excited to have him in, and he seems in good form at home. He’s very progressive – I think everything will suit him, and now it’s a case of fingers crossed it all goes well on the day.
“He’s won there over hurdles and he’s been second over fences. It’s always nice to know they like the track. It will give him time to get into the race, and we’ll take our chance after that.
“I think everything is in his favour – he will like the ground, the trip and the track.”
Alan Johns takes the ride, because Looksnowtlikebrian’s regular partner Richard Johnson is required to ride at Kempton.
“Obviously Dicky (Johnson) will be at Kempton, but Alan Johns has always done the schooling on him at home and has taken him to Yogi Breisner’s a few times, so he knows the horse very well,” said Vaughan.
“We’ll drop him in quick away, and deliver him late.”
He added: “I can only dream of winning the Welsh National. I don’t allow myself to think about it yet.
“I just want him to come home in one piece first of all – and after that it’s down to him.
“It’s the one race we’d love to win, there’s no question about that.”
Haverfordwest-based Peter Bowen is another Welsh trainer with high hopes for his representative, Rons Dream.
“She’s in good form. The trip should suit her, and the track should suit her,” he said.
“This has been the plan since last year, so she should go well.”
David Pipe has two solid chances with Ramses De Teillee and Vieux Lion Rouge, as he bids to land the prize his father Martin won five times in six years from 1988 to 1993.
Ramses De Teillee is fresh from success in the Welsh National Trial earlier this month, while Vieux Lion Rouge stayed on well to take second place in the Becher Chase at Aintree.
“Ramses came out of his last race well. He’s in great form, he’ll handle conditions and should travel nicely – it’s just what he finds up the straight, basically,” said the Nicholashayne handler.
“We definitely know Vieux Lion Rouge will stay. We’ve got blinkers on just to help horse and jockey over the first couple of miles, really.
“He was a bit sluggish last time – so if they sharpen him up, all he should be doing is staying on up that home straight.”
Gavin Cromwell reports Raz De Maree to be in fine shape as the 13-year-old attempts to repeat last season’s triumph.
“He’s been over there since Sunday and he’s been on great form with himself,” said the Navan handler.
“We’re happy with all the preparations. We would like the ground to be a bit softer than it is – but it is what it is.
“We’ve got a good 5lb claimer (Conor Orr), and he goes there with a live chance again.”
Ross O’Sullivan believes Baie Des Iles is back to her best after she was well beaten at Auteuil on her first start for five months.
“Conditions are in her favour. She seems in great form, and we’re really looking forward to it,” said the County Kildare trainer.
“Everything’s 100 per cent since Auteuil. She went there without a recent run, and that was a disadvantage to us. She’s fit and well, and she’s in good nick.”
The other Irish challenger is Gordon Elliott’s Folsom Blue, whose last run was over hurdles at Haydock five weeks ago when he was a respectable fourth to subsequent JLT Hurdle scorer Paisley Park.