DUAL Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill is set to have a run over hurdles at Chepstow tomorrow as he continues his build-up to the Grand National.
The 10-year-old, who finished fourth to Tiger Roll in last year’s National, is having his campaign built around a return trip to Aintree.
He holds an entry in the Chepstow Trade Centre Novices’ Hurdle over almost three miles on Friday – and is an intended runner. Yorkshire-born trainer Robert Walford said: “He is entered on Friday and will probably run there.
“It is just a novice hurdle, but he just needs to get on a racecourse.
“He has done plenty of work, but this is not the be all and end all.
“He will probably just have this run (before Aintree), and then we will take him for a racecourse gallop somewhere.”
Walk In The Mill, owned by Baroness Dido Harding, has won the Becher Chase for the last two years under jockey James Best, and his trainer is hoping for another bold show in the National.
He added: “The form of his Becher win has worked out well, with the second horse (Kimberlite Candy) winning the Classic Chase at Warwick, and he seems in good form.
“He is not well handicapped – but if he gets a good run round in the Grand National, he should be in the first six.
“He is not the classiest horse, and a better-class horse would always beat him, but he loves those fences and he stays well.”
The Aintree specialist is one of 105 entries for the Randox Health-sponsored National on April 4.
As expected, there are three Yorkshire-trained entries – Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red, Phil Kirby’s Top Ville Ben and Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds who was a first-fence faller last year.
The field is headed by Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll who will be bidding to become the first horse in history to win three consecutive renewals of the historic race. Elliott has made a total of 18 entries, more than any other trainer.
If successful for a fourth time, he would become the joint-most successful trainer in Grand National history, alongside Ginger McCain of Red Rum fame and Fred Rimell.
Willie Mullins has assembled a 10-strong squad, which includes Irish Grand National victor Burrows Saint.
Colin Tizzard’s Native River is also in the mix, but the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John has been ruled out due to injury, while Lucinda Russell’s 2017 National hero, One For Arthur, could bid to regain his crown.
Harrington, however, has last year’s runner-up, Magic Of Light, engaged – bidding to become the first mare to win the Grand National since Nickel Coin in 1951.
Other high-profile entries include the Paul Nicholls-trained Give Me A Copper, who is part-owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Christian Williams’s Welsh National winner, Potters Corner, who counts Wales rugby union international Jonathan Davies among his owners.
Also entered is As De Mee, owned by Dame Judi Dench.
The Oscar-winning actress entered the same horse in in 2018 before a leg injury ruled the gelding out of the big race.