Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings likes nothing better than having a winner at Aintree, and he scored at the first meeting of the season at the home of the Grand National through Vintage Clouds.
The seven-year-old, ridden by Danny Cook and trained by Sue Smith, landed the Read Noel Fehily at 188bet.co.uk Interactive Chase, while another of the Hemmings’ horses Cloudy Dream ran a fine race to be runner-up to Smad Place in the day’s feature, the 188Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase.
Watched by his owner (above), Vintage Clouds powered away in the closing stages in a race where six fences had to be omitted because a setting sun hampered visibility.
Smith was pleased with the run, saying of Vintage Clouds:”I think he is an improved horse this year, that little bit stronger and I was delighted with him because I didn’t think it would play to his strength with no fences in the straight.
“Danny said the horse kept on picking up for him.”
Of future plans, Smith was non-committal.
He said: “I haven’t put anything forward for him because I wanted to see how he would run at Aintree first.”
Cloudy Dream loomed up menacingly in the home straight and looked a big threat in the Old Roan, but Smad Place would not be denied and repelled the Hemmings’ runner.
Trainer Malcolm Jefferson said of Cloudy Dream: “He ran a blinder. He’s settling down now and settled into the race and jumped well.
“He’s in the race at Cheltenham next month (BetVictor Gold Cup) and he’ll probably go for that, as long as the ground is suitable.
“I’m sure he’ll get three miles now he’s settling more in his races. I’m very happy with him.”
Both Vintage Clouds and Cloudy Dream are by the stallion Cloudings, who sired Hemmings’ National winner Many Clouds.