The victory of Lalor at Newbury on Saturday was a timely boost ahead of Aintree’s Grand National meeting which could well decide the outcome of the trainers’ championship.

It was brilliant to see Lalor gain his first success since joining us at the start of the season. He has had a few issues in the past but still retains a fair amount of ability, enjoyed himself on Saturday and showed a willing attitude in the closing stages. I’ll see how he comes out of the race before deciding if he runs again at Cheltenham next week in a limited handicap Chase.
We will be sending a strong team to Aintree and it’s nice to be going there on the back of a winner.
It’s a meeting that is pivotal to the destination of the trainers’ title. Nicky Henderson is around £130,000 behind us with three weeks of the season left and obviously I’d rather be in front at this stage. Both yards have lots of horses to run and Dan Skelton could be in contention, too, if he has a good week.
I’m the first to admit that some our team could be in better form. They are not all flying but we continue to have winners and it’s a bonus that a number of our more fancied contenders at Aintree are going there fresh.
If the ground is decent on Thursday Pic D’Orhy is likely to run in the Grade 1 Manifesto Novice Chase with Clan Des Obeaux, wearing blinkers for the first time, bidding to repeat last year’s success in the Betway Bowl, and Monmiral and McFabulous both intended runners in the Aintree Hurdle.
On Friday we will be busy again with Bravemansgame in the Melling Chase and Gelino Bello in the Sefton Novice Hurdle of particular note.
We will have plenty more runners, too, including Stage Star, Iliade Allen, and Henri The Second together with some useful handicappers.
For all the latest news on our runners over the three days please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late afternoon on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.