Jamie Snowden supports Aintree's decision to move Grand Sefton to November
A prize for winning three races over Aintree's big fences, climaxing with the Grand National, has been mooted by trainer Jamie Snowden after the decision to bring forward the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.
One of five races staged over the National fences during the season, the Grand Sefton has previously taken place in December on the same card as the Becher Handicap Chase, but has now been switched to the track's November meeting following consultation with trainers.
Snowden, who won the 2019 Grand Sefton with Hogan's Height, said: "This is a sensible move as it will now be possible to run a horse in the Grand Sefton and then go on to the Becher the following month.
"I wonder if the possibility of a bonus for a horse who can win the Grand Sefton, Becher and Grand National could ever be an option."
There are no immediate plans for a bonus scheme but Aintree's clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said: "It's something we would talk about. If there's somebody willing to support it then we're always open to ideas and to discussing with the horsemen what works for them."
On the decision to move the Grand Sefton, Varma added: "We felt the November meeting lacked a highlight and this move should hopefully give it a boost. It always feels extra special at our fixtures when the famous Grand National fences are in use and it's exciting the Grand Sefton will now have its own billing.
"By having the opportunity to run a horse over the Grand National fences at a different time of year, we hope moving the race will help trainers in their planning for the Randox Grand National festival."
Three fences had to be omitted in the home straight due to low sun before the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase in December and Varma said it would always remain a risk during the track's autumn meetings.
"Unfortunately it's an issue I don't think will ever go away," she said. "We've looked at the times of day, the alignment of the track and even worked with a Cardiff university professor to see what could be changed – the honest answer is there's not a lot that can be done.
"It's a risk that will always exist at Aintree during the autumn period, but we'll try our best to run races at the optimum time to avoid it."
The Grand Sefton will remain an early-closing race, with entries for this year's race on November 6 set to close at noon on October 12.
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