Dr Richard Newland has his first National runner on Saturday and the eleven-year-old looks primed for the big occasion
Pineau De Re finished third in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival and is set for another huge run when it comes to Aintree on Saturday, with the horse nicely handicapped for the world’s most famous steeplechase.
The eleven-year-old is off a mark of 10-6 for the 2014 National and Dr Richard Newland appears confident that his first ever runner in this race can produce the goods with a mixture of excellent jumping and proven stamina, with the horse having previously won at Exeter over three miles on soft ground.
Don’t Push It was the winner of the 2010 renewal of the Grand National after running in the Pertemps and Dr Newland is expecting big things from his runner, with the horse being schooled over National fences following a good run at Cheltenham.
He said: “I hope he has has a good chance, I don’t see why he wouldn’t. He was a bit unlucky at Cheltenham, he missed the last and was staying on strongly but he’s come out of the race in good form.
“The National is a quality race, no question about that. It’s not like the old days and certainly takes some winning.”
Pineau De Re ran in the Becher Chase at the track last December although the horse stumbled at the eighth fence and the trainer reports that some serious work has been done on his jumping since then.
Newland said: “The jockey who rode him that day said he was just a bit novicey and he will have learnt from that and not to let it put us off from the National. We will be schooling him over some National style fences between now and the race but he’s normally a very safe jumper.
“He’s pretty versatile in terms of ground, he just wouldn’t want a bog over four and a half miles. He handled soft ground at Exeter but good ground would be fine for him.
“He won the Ulster National but he’s very unexposed over this kind of trip and while it took us a while to learn how to ride him, we know now and he was staying on well up the Cheltenham hill,” he said.
“It’s very exciting to have a National runner. I’ve been training since 2006 and we usually have about 12 horses in at a time. It’s very hard to get in the race as you need a really good horse, so it’s nice to have one good enough to run.”