The grey warmed up for today’s National trial by winning at Cheltenham and it is significant jockey Tom Scudamore – buoyed by last weekend’s Ladbrokes Trophy win on Cloth Cap – has chosen this horse over stablemate Vieux Lion Rouge who has such a redoubtable record at Aintree.
“He travelled extremely well at Cheltenham the other day and showed a good attitude to win. He has come out of that race in good form,” said Pipe, who is enjoying a steady resurgence.
“He ran in the Grand National last year. It does say he didn’t complete. However, at the Canal Turn the second time, he made a bad mistake and one of his reins broke. He did finish the race on one rein, but they said he didn’t complete, but he did.
“We had a discussion with his owners about coming here or the Welsh National. He made mistakes at the third and fourth fence in last year’s Grand National.
“But he jumped well in the main and we think it warrants having another go. He is a better horse on softer ground, and he will get that at Aintree.”
There are no guarantees that horses returning to the world famous Merseyside track will take to the fences – but the Becher is traditionally run at a less frenetic pace.
“There are lots of decent horses in there. Going back to Aintree a second time, some horses like it or some remember and don’t like it as much as others,” said Pipe, who won the 2008 National with Comply Or Die.
“I think Ramses de Teillee will take to it again. He is in great form and if he does take to it, then he must be in with a great chance.
“Because of the softer ground, they won’t go as quick so hopefully he can get in his comfort zone and jump well.”
The same can also be said of the aforementioned Vieux Lieu Rouge who got up on the line to win the 2016 renewal and deny Jimmy Moffatt’s ever popular Highland Lodge in a heartstopping finish.
Pipe enthused: “Vieux Lion Rouge has jumped more Grand National fences than any other horse around at the moment – 202. He has run in four Grand Nationals and four Becher Chases. He jumps those fences better than usual fences. He is not getting any younger, but he is in great form at home. For both my horses, the more rain the better.
“I don’t know why that is the case, but he loves the fences there and his track record shows you that. We have had Vieux Lion Rouge since a four-year-old and he has been a real stalwart.”
The field is headed by Walk In The Mill who is seeking a third successive Becher win. Owned by Baroness Dido Harding who heads the NHS Test and Trace programme, he’s trained in Dorset by Yorkshire-born Robert Walford who fears age – the horse will be 11 next month – and the handicapper are against the hat-trick bid.
“He’s in really good form but he’s obviously got more weight,” warned Walford.
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.