By Simon Jackson.
Nicky Henderson could have as many as three runners in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National as he attempts to win the unique steeplechase for the first time.
The three-time champion trainer admitted this week that victory in the National has proved ‘elusive’ for him and hopes to finally land the Aintree spectacular this year where he has entered Triolo d’Alene, Bear’s Affair and Hadrian’s Approach.
Speaking after the weights for the 2016 National were unveiled at the Sky Garden in London this week, the dual Cheltenham Cup winning trainer outlined plans for his intended runners.
“We will certainly run all three of horses if possible – Triolo d’Alene (11st), Bear’s Affair (10st 7lb) and Hadrian’s Approach (10st 6lb),” said Henderson whose big race successes also include five Champion Hurdles.
“It [Grand National] is an elusive race for us – we have been short of ammo for it over the last few years and so it is nice to have three in 2016.
“Triolo is good and won at Kempton Park the other day over two and a half miles. He has won a Hennessy and a Topham (over the Grand National fences). Winning a Topham is quite easy but the Grand National is impossible – I don’t know why these horses cannot go around twice at Aintree.
“Triolo loved it the last time he was at Aintree and jumped beautifully. He will probably go to Ascot this weekend.
“Hadrian’s Approach has not run for a bit but he is in really good shape. We were going to go to Kelso for the Ivan Straker race but sadly, with the ground likely to be very soft up there, I don’t think we will be making the journey. So Hadrian has to find another route to Aintree. He has won a bet365 and good ground is going to be important.
“Bear’s Affair has won twice over the Mildmay Course at Aintree but that has no relevance to the Grand National course. He is in good form though.
“We have had the second a couple of times in the Crabbie’s Grand National but the race has been a bit elusive.”
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