Connections of Trevor Hemmings-owned Vintage Clouds said initially that the grey wouldn’t be lining up in the famous Aintree steeplechase on 4th April, however trainer Sue Smith – who saddled Auroras Encore to Grand National glory back in 2013 – says that she and Hemmings have decided to keep their options wide open following an excellent showing when triumphing in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park earlier this month.
Vintage Clouds fell at the first in the 2019 Grand National and failed to impress over the big fences in the Becher Chase last month, jockey Danny Cook pulling him up after he ploughed through the chair after making numerous jumping errors beforehand.
At the time Sue Smith said: “He won’t go in the National. Trevor has said ‘don’t put him in’,” however despite both jockey and other connections stating categorically that a return to Aintree wasn’t on the cards, a rethink has taken place since then following discussions between trainer and owner.
The reason for this is that the convincing seven-length victory at Haydock effectively guarantees Vintage Clouds a place in the 2020 Grand National with only the top 40 in the handicap making the grade for a race in which Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll will look to become the first ever runner to record three back-to-back victories.
Smith said: “After careful consideration we have decided to enter Vintage Clouds for the Grand National. Having discussed it at length with Mr Hemmings, we decided, that having won so well in the Peter Marsh, it was worth keeping our options open until nearer the time, despite saying in the aftermath that he would not go back to Aintree.”
Vintage Clouds is an ante-post price of 33/1 to win the 2020 Randox Health Grand National.