NINE years of devotion to be defined by nine minutes – that, in essence, is the size of the challenge facing Vintage Clouds when Yorkshire’s challenger lines up in the Grand National at Aintree.
Ever since the horse was born, this race – still regarded as the sport’s ultimate test – has been the primary objective for owner-breeder Trevor Hemmings, already a three-time National winner.
A self-made man from humble beginnings, the octogenarian’s work ethic is shared by Bingley trainer Sue Smith and her husband Harvey, the showjumping legend; big race jockey Danny Cook; Reece Jarosiewicz, the Barnsley-born stable lad, and all those who work at these famous stables. They all describe themselves as ‘grafters’.
Yet, while Baildon Moor can be unforgiving in inclement weather, Auroras Encore was trained to perfection here before winning the 2013 National – and the whole of Yorkshire will be on cloud nine if racing history repeats itself later today. Good luck.