Brian Hughes joins forces with Vicente for Grand National

NORTH YORKSHIRE jockey Brian Hughes will partner Vicente in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday week.

Jockey Brian Hughes.

The Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old won the Scottish National at Ayr last spring, but has failed to replicate that form so far this season.

However, he was recently snapped by leading owner Trevor Hemmings, who has won the Grand National three times before with Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015).

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The owner’s racing manager, Mick Meagher, said: “Brian (Hughes) schooled the horse this morning, they jumped well and the plan is for him to ride in the Grand National.

“On his Scottish National form he would have a very good chance.

“He prefers better ground, but they’re talking about a dry week next week.

“All’s well at the moment.”

Hughes had originally been pencilled in to ride Irish contender Maggio, but his connections have now made alternative arrangements.

James Griffin, son of trainer Patrick, said: “We knew Brian might not be available so we had Conor O’Farrell on standby.

“Conor came over last week and schooled the horse and they schooled very well, so the plan is for him ride the horse at Aintree.

“I think Conor was actually surprised how much scope the horse has as he’s not the biggest in the world.

“I’ve known Conor a good while as when he was an apprentice, I was actually his jockey coach.

“He has a very good completion record around Aintree and we’re more than happy to have him on board.”