David Pipe has already trained one Grand National winner and he will attempt to saddle a second on the back of a positive Cheltenham Festival.
He has four horses currently left in the race and the quartet all require plenty of horses to drop out before they are guaranteed a run. However, the chances are optimistic for three of them, with it reasonably safe to rule Standing Ovation out of the equation.
Here, we take a look at Pipe’s three contenders which will get a mention in any Grand National preview as he looks to go one better than his father Martin, who won the race just once in his formidable career with Miinnehoma in 1994.
Still only a novice, Broadway Buffalo’s handicap rating of 137 has given him a weight of 10st for the National. That mark will surely go up in the future on the back of his second to Cause Of Causes in the National Hunt Chase over four miles at Cheltenham. Pipe was quick to confirm the seven-year-old will go to Aintree, providing he gets in. Prior to his run at Cheltenham, Broadway Buffalo fell in the Grand National Trial at Haydock when he was just starting to creep into contention down the back straight. He won the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock over three miles on heavy ground before Christmas and was then fifth to Dolatulo in the Rowland Meyrick Chase just six days later. Clearly stays well, but no seven-year-old has won since Bogskar in 1940.
The leading fancy from the Pipe yard who is two from two since moving from the Jo Hughes stable. Soll was seventh in the 2013 National behind Auroras Encore and was 11th in the Topham behind Ma Filleule last season. His mark of 139 is 7lbs higher than on his previous National run, but he is well in after being raised to 146 following his recent win in a Veterans’ Series race over three miles, two furlongs at Newbury. On his debut for Pipe in another Veterans’ race at Exeter at the start of February, Soll needed to be rousted along from quite an early stage by Tom Scudamore and there is a danger he could get taken off his feet over the first few fences. However, he does stay well and the ground should not be a concern.
An enigmatic sort who unseated Graham Lee in the 2010 National as a seven-year-old when sent off at a price of 14/1, The Package finished 12th behind Pineau De Re last year after weakening up the straight. In both of those races, he was on a mark of 141 and, this year, he would be racing off 137. That could prove extremely generous after the 12-year-old bounced back to form under amateur Jamie Codd to win the Kim Muir at Cheltenham by 12 lengths. He has always tended to run well at the Cheltenham Festival after previous second, third and fourth places in the three-mile Handicap Chase on the opening day. He was a distant sixth behind Sam Winner and The Druids Nephew on his reappearance this season at Cheltenham and is now much better off in the weights with those other two National entries. His only other run came when pulled up in the Becher Chase behind Oscar Time at Aintree in December. Amberleigh House was a 12-year-old when winning in 2004 and, after a couple of lengthy lay-offs in his career, The Package doesn’t have loads of miles on the clock. On his best form, he would have a chance off his feather weight, but the jury is out on whether he will last home.