Vintage Clouds will have the Randox Health Grand National as his big aim again this season, with a return to Aintree on the cards in the Becher Chase first.
Sue Smith’s grey only got as far as the first fence in the National last season, but prior to that he had been his usual consistent self and was a fine second at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was then favourite for the Scottish National, where he was sixth, but regular rider Danny Cook, speaking at a press event at Wetherby for Go Racing In Yorkshire on Monday, confirmed Aintree was the big aim once again.
“He jumped the first fence at Aintree too well and came down steeply,” said Cook, who partnered the Trevor Hemmings-owned nine-year-old in a spin with stablemate Sharp Response.
“The plan is to run him in the Becher Chase in November to get some experience of the fences, before another attempt at the Grand National.”
Cook was also aboard his intended bet365 Charlie Hall Chase mount, the Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red, in a gallop.
He will face Phil Kirby’s Top Ville Ben then and Kirby will also be running stable star Lady Buttons at the meeting.
“She is a star and without her we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Kirby.
“We look forward to returning to Wetherby with her at the beginning of November, for a race she won last year.”
Ruth Jefferson was in attendance to speak about Waiting Patiently, who has flown the flag for the north in Grade One races for the past couple of season, although his last campaign did not go entirely to plan.
He made his return in the King George on Boxing Day and was brought down by Bristol De Mai
His jockey Brian Hughes explained: “Although we still had a mile and a half to go and I couldn’t be sure that he would stay, he was giving me a great feel.
“We were going quite quickly over the first four fences, but it felt like he was just doing a hack canter.”