Scotland can fly Grand National flag again says Seeyouatmidnight trainer
Sandy Thomson's sights fixed on Aintree spectacular after stable star's comeback
Scotland has a great chance of securing back-to-back Randox Health Grand Nationals, trainer Sandy Thomson insisted on Sunday when reflecting on Seeyouatmidnight's return to action at Newbury 24 hours earlier.
Off for a year, the ten-year-old needed to run in a chase this season to qualify for the £1 million Aintree highlight a fortnight on Saturday, which he did by finishing a respectable third at Newbury.
Thomson, whose wife Quona owns Seeyouatmidnight, had been thwarted by the weather in his attempts to get a run into his stable star, so embarked on an eight-hour trip south on Thursday from his Berwickshire base.
He was left more than satisfied by the result of Saturday's 2m4f handicap, in which Seeyouatmidnight led under Danny Cook before holding on for third behind Tiquer and Kayf Adventure.
Thomson, speaking during a pit-stop at Wetherby, said: "I was absolutely delighted. I haven't seen the race again but I've had time to reflect and spoken to Danny and perhaps the horse wasn't quite as far on as I thought he would be. You always hope horses are fitter than they are, but he's taken it very well and seems absolutely fine.
"We'll be home about 4.30pm and if the weather's nice he'll go out in the field for an hour. Then he'll have a quiet week before we plan how we're going to work him.
"There's a meeting at Kelso the week before the National we could take him to. It probably wouldn't be much of a gallop, but it would be a change of scenery."
Seeyouatmidnight, a Grade 2-winning hurdler who slammed Bristol De Mai last season, is a 25-1 chance to follow fellow Scottish-trained One For Arthur into Aintree's winner's enclosure.
"They went a good gallop at Newbury and I told Danny he'd be fresh, and he was," added Thomson. "Danny was quite happy to bowl along and once he jumped three or four he jumped really well.
"I spoke to Danny last night and Newbury and Cheltenham, perhaps Sandown, are probably the biggest tracks in the country in terms of jumping tests.
"While the first two horses went away from him, Danny said the fourth horse was never going to get past him. He came back and had a good blow, but wasn't legless, which is what we wanted."
The trainer, who represented Scotland to a high level as a rugby player, now has his sights firmly fixed on jump racing's biggest prize.
"We're very lucky to have him and it's a great experience for the whole stable to be involved with him, it has been all along," said Thomson.
"We've just got to keep our feet on the ground and approach it as another race, but obviously that's easy to say and doesn't really happen. There is a real possibility he goes there with a great chance."
Colin Tizzard will also be hoping that applies to The Dutchman, who used to be Seeyouatmidnight's stablemate.
He won the Peter Marsh at Haydock, before being pulled up in the track's Grand National Trial.
His son and assistant Joe said: "The Dutchman is in good form. He broke a blood vessel in the Grand National Trial last time and it was a disappointing performance given the favourable conditions.
"He had won impressively on heavy ground in the Peter Marsh the time before, but he never seemed to be travelling last time, despite his record in heavy ground."
The Dutchman may school over the National fences at David Pipe's yard and Tizzard added: "We've been easy on him since Haydock and he seems to be really well in himself.
"It wasn't ideal what happened, but he's had seven or eight weeks off and the National is definitely the plan. I think it should suit, and he's a nice horse who's improving with racing."
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