Local trainers have eyes on track's richest prize
188Bet Handicap Chase | 3m1f | 5yo+ | ATR
Hereford stages its richest race since the course reopened in October and it is likely local trainers Venetia Williams, Kerry Lee and Michael Scudamore, responsible for five of the 11 runners, have had it marked in red on their calendars for some time.
Williams, who trains ten miles from the course, fields Aachen and Waldorf Salad, while Lee, based some 17 miles away, hopes Goodtoknow, second in Warwick's Classic Chase last time, can secure a suitable rise in the weights to make the cut for the Randox Health Grand National.
Lee also runs last season's Welsh Grand National winner Mountainous, seventh behind his stablemate at Warwick.
They will not lack for fitness, but Scudamore's Streets Of Promise has to defy a 290-day absence, although he has won three of his last four and is likely to be on shortlists for the £20,000 pot.
What they say
Kerry Lee, trainer of Goodtoknow and Mountainous
Goodtoknow ran a career-best in the Classic Chase at Warwick. He ran a huge race and I was very pleased. I've entered him in the Grand National, but he needs to go up to get in and needs to win a race before February 12, so let's hope he goes close. Mountainous is running off a nice weight and it's been raining in Herefordshire for about two days, so I'm very hopeful he'll get his conditions, which he hasn't had yet this season.
Evan Williams, trainer of Firebird Flyer
I think he's badly handicapped and age is creeping up on him. He ran a very good race in the Welsh National but was smoked by a very good winner [Native River]. We are what we are – badly handicapped, old and out of form.
David Pipe, trainer of What A Moment
He was a bit disappointing at Wetherby last time, but he'll like the conditions and we've put some cheekpieces on, so there's no reason he can't run well.
Donald McCain, trainer of Federici
He's had two starts for me and ran well at Aintree and again at Catterick last time, when maybe he didn't get home over three miles six with top weight. The heavy ground won't be a problem.
Henry Daly, trainer of Flashjack
He was very disappointing last time and never really got into it. Hopefully the fitting of cheekpieces will sharpen him up – they have done at home so hopefully they'll have the same effect on the track. Conditions will be fine for him.