Flying Scot Seeyouatmidnight all set for Grand National after ownership change
Scotland's big hope for back-to-back Randox Health Grand National victories, Seeyouatmidnight, goes into Saturday's contest in "great shape" and will run in the colours of Cheveley Park Stud's David and Patricia Thompson after a last-minute sale just days before the Aintree marathon.
The Sandy Thomson-trained ten-year-old is bidding to follow in the footsteps of last year's winner One For Arthur, the first Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National since Rubstic in 1979.
And Seeyouatmidnight will also be attempting to replicate the feat of Party Politics, who won the 1992 Grand National carrying the Thompsons' silks having been purchased just days beforehand.
Previously owned by Thomson's wife Quona, Seeyouatmidnight is a general 16-1 shot for the Grand National, with the market headed by Total Recall at 11-1. He comes into Saturday's race having finished third over an inadequate two and a half miles at Newbury late last month, a first start this campaign after injury and bad weather prevented earlier appearances.
"It's very easy to see why he's at the forefront of the market," said Thomson on Monday.
"He's got a nice racing weight, and if he'd run this season in some of the nice races we would have hoped he wouldn't be rated 149 any more. His third in the Scottish National [in 2016] shows he stays. Hopefully he'll take to the fences and jump as well.
"I've no concern about the ground. He beat Bristol De Mai on good ground [at Carlisle in October 2016] and he's won a bit on soft ground, so I'm not concerned about that.
"Obviously it's not been smooth but I'm very happy with where he is. He's going to the race in great shape. You don't really get confident with the National, but it's not difficult to see why he's fancied."
He added: "One of the things that really pleased me at Newbury was that that is a big track and he jumped it really well, even though he hadn't jumped a fence even here since his run in the Betfair Chase in 2016. That really pleased me."
Thomson and big-race jockey Brian Hughes together have decided not to give Seeyouatmidnight a go over a replica National fence, meaning he will encounter the unique obstacles for the first time on Saturday.
Thomson explained: "I think he's intelligent enough. We haven't schooled him, so hopefully he'll run down to the first fence and think, 'Oh that's a bit different', and take care of it."
Seeyouatmidnight was popular with punters on Monday and was cut to 16-1 (from 20) by several firms, with Ladbrokes reporting that he and Tiger Roll – the firm's 8-1 favourite – were their worst results.
The offer to buy Seeyouatmidnight came via bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley following the ten-year-old's comeback run.
"Anthony Bromley asked me at Newbury if we would be interested and I said, 'Well let's see how he gets on', and he came back afterwards and made an offer. We had the whole trip home to discuss it and, listen, we run a business," Thomson added.
"It wouldn't have happened unless he was staying here and I know from Jimmy Moffatt [trainer of Highland Lodge] that they're really nice people and we just want the best for the horse. It's absolutely great to have them in the stable."
Last year Le Mercurey, who finished 12th, Just A Par (14th) and Highland Lodge (pulled up) represented the Thompsons, while the likes of Character Building (seventh in 2010) have also been purchased by the couple only days before lining up at Aintree.
Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, said: "Mr and Mrs Thompson have always enjoyed the experience of having a Grand National runner and have won the race in the past. As such, they are always interested in being involved.
"They're following tradition by buying Seeyouatmidnight and Sandy Thomson has done an excellent job with him."
Five-day forfeits for the Grand National on Monday left the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Double Ross as the 40th runner in the race and hence the last entry guaranteed a starting berth.
Barry Geraghty, who won the 2003 Grand National on Monty's Pass, will ride leading fancy Anibale Fly, according to JP McManus's racing manager Frank Berry.
Berry added that Noel Fehily would partner Minella Rocco, Mark Walsh would be on Carlingford Lough and Richie McLernon on Regal Encore.
Pendra, McManus's fifth entry in the first 40, is likely to be ridden by Aidan Coleman, according to trainer Charlie Longsdon.
Keith Donoghue, who partnered Tiger Roll to win the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month, will have his first ride in the Grand National on Valseur Lido.
Which horse will start favourite for the Grand National?
Coral: 5-2 Blaklion, 3 Total Recall, 5 Tiger Roll, 6 Any other horse, 7 Anibale Fly, 10 The Last Samuri, 12 Minella Rocco, Seeyouatmidnight
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