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Emma Lavelle set for Grand National challenge with De Rasher Counter

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Emma Lavelle set for Grand National challenge with De Rasher Counter


De Rasher Counter came in fourth in the Denman Chase two months ago upon his return from a tendon injury and trainer Emma Lavelle will also be hoping for Eclair Surf to make it into the final forty for the Aintree marathon.

Emma Lavelle expects De Rasher Counter to relish the Grand National challenge on Saturday afternoon, the ten-year-old having triumphed in the 2019 Ladbrokes Trophy but limited to just a single hurdles outing last season. The runner came in fourth in the Denman Chase and Lavelle reckons that this was the ideal warm-up ahead of his long-term target of a start in the Randox Grand National.

The handler said: “He’s great, absolutely super. He’s had a great prep and he’s been away and had a nice gallop and we’ve schooled away from home with him so we couldn’t be happier.

“He had a tendon injury and the funny thing is the National has always been a race that we thought would suit him and it meant we could give him lots of time to get over the tendon injury and we did a lot of roadwork at the start of the year.

“Adam Wedge had him up and down hills at home in Wales and then he came back to us. The Denman Chase was the perfect prep run for him and that fitted the qualifications. That got him back and gave us a lovely amount of time afterwards to hopefully get him spot on for Aintree.

“It was beautiful ground at Newbury and it was our Gold Cup horses having a run against each other. De Rasher Counter travelled with them and jumped brilliantly and was still there to the back of the second last when he took a bit of a blow. That was great and then Tom (Bellamy) looked after him after that. He finished fourth and we were delighted with him.

“He’s on the same mark that he was on when he won a Ladbrokes Trophy with 149. Every horse has got to take to the fences and get some luck in-running, but we’d be very happy with how everything has gone to this point. He’s got as good a chance as any really.”

Lavelle has also entered Classic Chase hero Eclair Surf into the gruelling contest, his form being boosted even further when losing by just two lengths to Win My Wings in the Coral Scottish Grand National last weekend. As things stand, Eclair Surf is 47th in the Grand National weights and he will certainly need a huge amount of luck in order to make the cut for the famous steeplechase.

Lavelle added: “He’s eight years old so there’s no doubt that he definitely has time on his side as far as the Grand National is concerned. What it does show you though is how tough it is to even get a run in the race, as he’s rated 143.

“With that in mind, you sort of feel that if we do get in we’ll take our chance and if we don’t then hopefully we’ll have a crack next year.”