Conditional hoping Aqalim can give him huge win
The horse Aqalim has shaped with promise over fences, notably when second to Thistlecrack at Chepstow in October. He was bought for 55,000gns last April after finishing fifth in the Pertemps Hurdle Final at Cheltenham and third in the Aintree champion bumper.
The race Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 3m4½f, which is another step up in trip for Aqalim
The story Trainer Tim Vaughan and his conditional Alan Johns have struck up a successful association, with the Welsh trainer reaping the reward for going on the hunt for better winter horses.
Johns rode a dozen winners last season but has nearly trebled that this time around. Vaughan is already past 50 winners and Aqalim holds a National Hunt Chase entry at the Cheltenham Festival.
He says I think there is a big day in Aqalim. He's not without a chance at Haydock and is well handicapped on his hurdle form. The first-time visor and step up in trip could help and if he decides he fancies it and can stay in touch for the first half of the race he could run a big race at a big price. He enjoyed himself behind Thistlecrack at Chepstow but didn't want to know next time at Cheltenham before running a bit better last time.
I am 27 now and took time out from racing after riding out at Peter Bowen's while I was at school. I wouldn't have had a chance of being a jockey without Tim, who has taught me plenty in the four years I have worked for him.
Today, with four chances at Haydock, is what we have been trying to achieve. We want runners in the higher-profile races and are getting the horses to do that now.