The Last Samuri to join Harry Fry in what could be his final season in training
Grand National regular The Last Samuri is to join Harry Fry for what could be his final season in training, his current trainer Kim Bailey revealed on Friday.
For the last three seasons The Last Samuri has competed in the Aintree showpiece, with his best effort coming in 2016 when he finished a six-length runner-up to Rule The World.
Trips to Aintree tackling the National fences have become a regular fixture for the ten-year-old, as he has also placed twice in the Becher Chase, and he was third in the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.
Speaking on his blog on Friday, Bailey said: "The expected phone call from Harry Fry came last night. The Last Samuri will not be trained from here this coming winter.
"It is always sad to lose a horse to another trainer, and especially one as popular and as much loved as The Last Samuri.
"He will be hugely missed as he has been part of the furniture here for the last three years and what great days we have had on the racecourse with him too."
Although without a win since March 2016, The Last Samuri has been a tremendously consistent chaser for Bailey, and the trainer added: "How can I forget nearly winning that Grand National with him? It was heart-wrenching for all concerned, and we walked away saying 'if only it had not rained'.
"He loves those Aintree fences and he has showed that with two fabulous runs in the Becher Chase under top weight. He is tough, honest and a fabulously versatile jumper which he showed again when finishing third in this year's cross country at Cheltenham."
While disappointed to see The Last Samuri leaving his yard, Bailey accepted the decision in magnanimous fashion.
"He has been a pleasure to train and I wish his new trainer Harry Fry all the best, and I am sure he, like us all here, will fall madly in love with this pocket rocket.
"Paul and Clare Rooney who own The Last Samuri feel that as this is probably his last season in training a new trainer should have a chance with him.
"I would like to wish Paul, Clare and Harry all the best with The Last Samuri. They will have fun with him. The old boy showed last season that there is a still a big race to be won by him."
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