Haydock Park, Saturday 19th February 2022, William Hill Grand National Trial Day

Bear Has Necessities To Win Trial

In a race which had eleven brave horses set out over the marathon trip of three and a half miles only three lasted out to the bitter end as The Galloping Bear for new trainer Ben Clarke and jockey Ben Jones followed on from last months Surrey National win at Lingfield as they broke the hearts of fans of Bristol De Mai who tried do defy topweight by staying on powerfully to land the Grade 3 Grand National Trial.

Bristol De Mai tried to do his customary thing of making all and turning for home he had The Galloping Bear and Time To Get Up as the only ones still in contention which the crowd who braved the elements were warming up very much from this but on the approach to the last fence the petrol gauge slowly began to empty and from behind The Galloping Bear under his light weight of 10-7 began to overpower him and went on to score decisively, he is reportedly heading to Uttoxeter next month for the Midlands Grand National and in this form he will be hard to stop.

After the race the stewards enquired into the performances of four of the horses who pulled up, given the conditions were absolutely brutal and the jockeys showed themselves to be doing the right thing even though prize money was available from first to sixth place this seemed absolutely pointless.


Wholestone In Rendlesham Glory

One of the rides of the day came from Sam Twiston-Davies as he stuck religiously to the inside rain from flagfall to the chequered one as he steered the 11yo veteran Wholestone to glory in the Rendlesham Hurdle.

Absent from the track since falling here in November 2020 he came back fairly fresh as a daisy and reeled in long time leader Top Ville Ben on the run in with the pair a donkey’s yawn of a gap back to Third Wind who was tbe only one to complete the course with the rest of the field pulled up, his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has no plans for him at the moment although you wouldn’t be shocked if he had a go at the Liverpool Hurdle on Grand National Day.


Hillcrest Continues To Climb

Without a doubt the most visually impressive performance of the afternoon came late in the day as the Henry Daly trained Hillcrest showed no ill effects from his Cheltenham tumble three weeks ago as he beat some fair rivals to bag the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle.

Sharing pace setting duties with recent Sandown winner Green Book he began upping the tempo around the home turn from which the race was in the bag and he came home eight lengths ahead of the Nicky Richards trained Crystal Glory.

Carrying the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings he is a very exciting prospect and has improved so much since we saw him land his first hurdle back at Aintree in November, wherever he goes as regards the spring festivals he will attract many when he makes his chasing debut next season.


Best Of The Rest.

Porticello as expected bagged the Victor Ludorum Hurdle for the juvenile hurdlers, he will have a much tougher assignment should he go for the Triumph but this win will have given him a nice confidence booster going into it.

Finally the North West had good reason to celebrate the final race of the afternoon in the Walrus Hunter Chase over 2m6f as last seasons Aintree Foxhunters victor Cousin Pascal for the Nantwich based Joe O’Shea yard under Mr James King.

Second at Hereford on his recent start under rules after a couple of races between the flags which included a win at Revesby Park back in November you can fully expect all roads (presumably the A49, M6 and the M62) will now lead to Aintree for the defence of his Foxhunters crown although unlike last year he won’t be going off at 66s again.

He got a nice reception coming back in from the die hards who always love to see a locally trained Haydock winner wether it be over jumps or on the flat.

Cousin Pascal

Hopefully this upcoming Friday we shall be on our travels depending if the next named storm doesn’t get in the way as we shall be down in Shakespeare territory with a visit to Warwick races for the Budbrooke Cul raceday, fill

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