Vintage Clouds urged to win Kelso return in honour of Trevor Hemmings

SUE SMITH hopes Vintage Clouds can honour the memory of late owner Trevor Hemmings when her Cheltenham hero makes his seasonal reappearance today.

This was Vintage Clouds winning at Cheltenham in March for Sue Smith, Ryan Mania and the late Trevor Hemmings.

The veteran grey, who was such a popular winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase at the National Hunt Festival in March, lines up in the Edinburgh Gin Chase at Kelso.

He will also be one of the first Hemmings horses to run since the 86-year-old, who had three Grand National wins to his name, died on October 11.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Smith, who trains at High Eldwick with her husband Harvey, saddled more winners for Hemmings than any other trainer and was particularly proud at how Vintage Clouds won the Cheltenham race at the fifth time of asking.

Sue Smith's Midnight Shadow, pictured winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle under the now retired Danny Cook, lines up at Aintree this weekend.

“He’s in good form and hopefully runs a nice race,” says Smith. “Ryan (Mania) has to ride Dingo Dollar for Sandy Thomson so we’ve booked Henry Brooke.

“I don’t think the horse’s age will be a factor – he seems in very good form – and it would just be nice to have a good run in Trevor’s memory.”

This weekend also marks the return of the Smith-trained Midnight Shadow in tomorrow’s Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

He’s one of eight runners declared for a race that celebrates the great grey Monet’s Garden who was trained in Cumbria by Nicky Richards.

Midnight Shadow, owned by Cyril and Aafke Clarke, disappointed in the 2020 renewal of this race, but Smith is confident that the horse is in better form this year.

“He had a mishap last year, but he goes there in much better form this time around,” said the trainer who says she’s looking forward to a good run before discussing possible targets later in the season.

“It’s once race at a time and we’ll take it from there.”