Robbie Dunne and Rigadin De Beauchene after their Warwick successPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Punters side with Rigadin in Grand National Trial
RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENE on Wednesday usurped John Smith's Grand National hope Teaforthree at the head of the market for Saturday's big-race trial at Haydock.
Having proved his appetite for a thorough stamina test in the Betfair Classic Chase at Warwick last month, punters believe Rigadin De Beauchene can add another marathon prize under regular rider Robbie Dunne in the Grade 3 Betfred Grand National Trial.
Coral on Wednesday cut the Venetia Williams-trained eight-year-old to 4-1 favourite (from 5) and 3lb claimer Dunne gave a further vote of confidence to his chances.
Dunne said: "I'm looking forward to getting back on him after his last run and I'm sure he'll go well as everything - trip, ground and track - should suit him.
"He's so consistent, he never runs a bad race and since Newbury his jumping has really come together. He's one of those horses where staying is his game. He's certainly going the right way and hopefully he can go a bit further.
"His win at Warwick was impressive and exactly the sort of thing I needed. It's great to have a horse like him as he gives you a bit of exposure. Riding them is the easy bit, it's getting on them that's the hard job."
Rigadin De Beauchene is 10lb better off for a three and a half length defeat by Well Refreshed on his penultimate start but that has not stopped support for the Gary Moore-trained Sussex National winner, who was a significant mover on Wednesday and Paddy Power go 7-1 (from 10s).
Giles Cross, who is a best-priced 10-1 for Saturday's race, is reported to be in good shape as he bids to follow up last year's victory, when he edged out subsequent Grand National hero Neptune Collonges.
Trainer Victor Dartnall said: "Giles Cross is in good form and I am sure he will give another good account at Haydock."
The going at Haydock was described as heavy on Wednesday with further rain expected before Saturday's meeting.