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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Saint Are and Seventh Sky on Grand National trail in veterans' chase

Saint Are: all roads lead to the Grand National for the Tom George-trained chaser
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3.45 Doncaster
Genius By BetBright Veterans' Handicap Chase | 2m7f214y, 9yo+ | ATR 

Grand National regular Saint Are is out to put an uncharacteristic fall in the Becher Chase behind him as he bids for back-to-back wins in leg two of the veterans’ chase series.

A battling winner last year, he returns to Doncaster on just a 1lb higher mark on Wednesday as he gears up for a fourth tilt at the Randox Health Grand National in April, a race in which he finished runner-up to Many Clouds in 2015.

Seventh Sky, rated just 2lb below Saint Are, is another with Aintree and the National on his radar, although similar to the topweight, he too is looking to get back on track having failed to complete on his last two starts.

Hawk has his eye in
Nigel Hawke’s string have hit form in February with four winners over the past ten days and Samingarry bids to continue that good run here.

McDonald chasing landmark win
Blue Kascade races from 1lb out of the handicap but Rachael McDonald, claiming 7lb, negates that disadvantage as she bids for a first winner from her second ride as a professional.


What they say

Tom George, trainer of Saint Are
It was unfortunate what happened in the Becher Chase and he needs to start getting busy now. It’s getting towards his time of year and he’s in good form. I might try and get two more runs in before the National this year. 

Charlie Mann, trainer of Seventh Sky
He’s had two mess ups in his last two runs but this is a suitable race to hopefully get him back on track. The ground is probably not quite as soft as his ideal but we want to run in the National so are keen to get a bit of form back before then.   

Nigel Hawke, trainer of Samingarry
He missed most of last season with a problem and we’ve given him plenty of time. He’s not hit the right ground so far this season because I don’t think he likes it too soft, but this looks more like it. He needs to find his form but he’s down to a reasonable mark and seems to be well.

Charlie Longsdon, trainer of Killala Quay
This will be his debut in the veterans' series. He's going nicely at home, so I hope he can put in a better run than he has shown this season.

Emma Lavelle, trainer of Court By Surprise
He’ll get his ground and he’s won on the track before. He’s not getting any quicker but he’s in great from and it would be lovely to see him get his head in front in one of these races. I’m really looking forward to seeing him run.

Sandy Thomson, trainer of Blue Kascade
There’s so little for him and with the good ground likely to suit, we’re giving it a go. The plan would be the series final at Haydock, so he’d need to run well enough here to warrant that.

It’s getting towards his time of year and he’s in good form. I might try and get two more runs in before the National this year
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