Lord Du Mesnil will have the Randox Health Grand National as his ultimate objective next season after the world’s greatest steeplechase was lost in 2020 due to coronavirus.
Trainer Richard Hobson confirmed Aintree would definitely be on the agenda next spring, following the seven-year-old’s fine effort at the Cheltenham Festival.
Lord Du Mesnil gave everything as he went down by two and a quarter lengths to Ravenhill in the National Hunt Chase. He was found to be suffering from post-race heat stress after the race, but has fully recovered.
“He had a wobble after the race, he got over-heated but he seems as bright as a button now and has recovered from it,” he said.
“The National next year will be the long-term target for him, definitely.”
Hobson reported Chic Name to be none the worse after pulling up before the final fence when tailed off in the Glenfarclas Chase won by Easysland.
“He hated the ground. It was bottomless in the middle of the cross-country course,” said the Cheltenham handler.
“He got away with it there in December, but it wasn’t as soft as that and he had no weight on his back that day.”
Like other trainers, Hobson is feeling the pinch with racing shutdown due to coronavirus.
“These are really worrying times. You feel like you are getting no help. Obviously we’re still paying for licences and staff. My licence was renewed the other day and that was £1,100,” he said.
“People don’t understand you can’t just shut up the shop. We’ve got 24 horses round the place.
“They still need feeding and my horses were as fit as a fiddle. At Newbury last weekend I had four runners (to run), all of whom had won their previous races. They were all ready to run for their lives, it was the pinnacle of their season.
“Then you can’t run them. You’ve got fresh horses and you have to wind them down.
“I back up my business with horses ready to go to the sales. We don’t know if we are going to be able to sell them and get income for the year.
“We might have had a fantastic season with 13 winners and one in France, with a small number of runners, but we earn our living from selling horses.
“There will be a massive knock-on effect and people will go out of business.
“I’ve kept in some good-ground horses on a wing and a prayer hoping we might get racing again in May. You just have to hope.
“I can only sustain my business for two months. After that I’d be scratching my head where the next money is coming from.”