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Anxious Grand National wait for Le Breuil connections

The Grand National has been the main objective for eight-year-old Le Breuil since he romped home to victory in the National Hunt Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival last March. Nevertheless he was pulled-up at Wetherby over hurdles on his seasonal reappearance in November and finished down the field at Warwick’s Classic Chase as well as the Becher Chase at Aintree, this resulting in his mark dropping from 150 to 145.

When the weights for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National were released last week, the Pauling runner was 71st on the list and as things stand the Gloucestershire-based handler is undecided as to whether he should run Le Breuil between now and the National on 4th April.

He said: “It’s annoying situation to be in, but we are we are and we’ll have to make the best of it.

“There are seven horses rated 145, so he’s effectively somewhere between 66th and 72nd on the list. If you run above your mark between now and the National you’ll get nearer 66 and if you run and run poorly you’ll be closer to 72, that’s how I’ve read it.

“We need to decide whether to give him a run somewhere or roll the dice and go straight there. I think he would probably like a run, so that could be to our advantage, but we’ll have a think about it over the next week or two.

“Having looked at the race, I think if you’re 69 or 70 you’re probably going to get in, but it’s obviously going to be tight.”

Should he make an appearance between now and the Aintree spectacular, he might well bid for a second victory at the Cheltenham festival.

Pauling added: “We’ll probably give him a couple of entries at Cheltenham, in the Ultima Handicap Chase and the Kim Muir, although the Kim Muir is probably unlikely.

“Looking at it from a positive point of view, if he was to get in the Grand National, he would carry 10st, with Tiger Roll now a confirmed runner, which is a pretty exciting weight.

“In my opinion, of the horses in the race rated 145, he is one of the more progressive ones – I’m fairly confident he can run better than that mark in the right circumstances.”