Redknapp hopeful of having Aintree contender
Harry Redknapp admits it would be “amazing to have a runner in the Grand National” but the owner faces an anxious wait before the April 15th contest on Merseyside.
The Martin Keighley-trained Back On The Lash was a winner over the Cross Country course at Cheltenham in January and is set to go back there this month for The Festival before a possible Aintree mission.
Redknapp keeping fingers crossed for Aintree
Football boss Redknapp, 75, has managed top clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Portsmouth in his football career, and he admitted it would be a thrill to have a runner in this year’s Randox Grand National if Back On The Lash secures a start in the race.
Back On The Lash would carry 9st 13lb in the race if he gets in, but he’s currently 64th on the entry list, with a maximum field of 40 engaged come the day, leaving him with plenty of waiting to do before he gets in.
“It would be amazing to have a runner in the Grand National,” said Redknapp. “I would love to have a runner. It’s one of my favourite races.
“This would be my first runner in the National and I would love it. I’d love to go and watch him run. I really hope he gets in. He’s a game horse, he’ll go to Cheltenham now and we’ll see where we go. Let’s hope he gets in.”
Long-standing love for Aintree showpiece
The successful manager says his love of racing, and the National in particular, has been with him since childhood when his mother had some good fortune in the race.
“The greatest memory I have of the Grand National is my mum, who worked in a cake factory in the East End of London, drawing Foinavon (in 1967) in the sweepstake and sitting round the radio listening to the commentary because we didn’t have a TV,” he said of the famous 1967 winner.
“It was incredible. Every horse got to the Foinavon fence, as it’s known now, and fell and Foinavon, who was 100 yards behind, won and my mum won the sweep. It was only a couple of pounds but to us it was a fortune back in those days, so the National is always special.”
Our Power also in the frame
Last weekend’s Coral Trophy winner Our Power is another for whom Aintree may be looming, according to Sam Twiston-Davies.
Third in the same Kempton race 12 months ago, Our Power was racing off a mark 5lb higher having won his only other start this season at Ascot in the autumn.
Flegmatik, chasing his third win at Kempton, looked to be going best turning for home, but Our Power stuck to his guns and wore him down, with Grade 1 winner Frodon behind in third.
Like Back On The Lash, Our Power will need some help as he’s currently 62nd in the Grand National list.
For Twiston-Davies, it would be great to see him getting into a race he might just thrive on and another milestone for trainer Sam Thomas if it happens.
“He’s the right type for the National and I feel now would be the right time. But he’s on 62 (in list of runners) so would need a few to come out,” said the rider.
“He’s an accurate jumper and can also be quite bold. I think he’s got what it takes for the National and it would be great for Sam [Thomas] who is a good friend and a very good trainer.”