Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings eyes Saturday double
Preston North End and dashing grey Vintage Clouds could team up to deliver Trevor Hemmings a memorable double on home turf this weekend.
Vintage Clouds is set to run in the £100,000 Unibet Grand National Trial at Haydock Park on Saturday (3.15), while promotion play-off chasers PNE host Millwall at the same time in a vital Championship clash.
Lilywhites chief Hemmings is bidding to become the most successful owner in Grand National history and he also wants to see the club he bought a decade ago reach the Premier League.
And victory for Vintage Clouds in the three miles four and a half furlongs test would see one of his favourite horses go straight to Aintree for the world’s richest jumps race on April 4.
Vintage Clouds, a first fence faller in last year’s Grand National, looked as good as ever on his latest start, when defeating Definitly Red and Geronimo in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock Park a month ago.
“Vintage Clouds is entered for the Unibet Grand National Trial at Haydock Park and that is the plan at the moment,” said Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith.
Hemmings and Smith combined to win the Unibet Grand National Trial in 2000 with Last Fling and Smith added: “Vintage Clouds has been fine since the Peter Marsh.
“It was a lovely performance and we were delighted with the manner in which he jumped – it was great to see him put it all together.
“The Grand National is now back on the agenda. We just have to decide between now and then whether he also takes in the Ultima Handicap at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.”
The Randox Health Grand National weights were revealed this week and Hemmings could also have Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander) and Warriors Tale (Paul Nicholls) to aim over the Grand National fences in April.
Hemmings has won the National three times with Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015)
Meantime, Truckers Lodge, one of two possible contenders for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, will be one of the favourites if he runs in Saturday’s trial following a creditable second in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
The Randox Health Grand National Trial is at Haydock Park this Saturday. Contact 0344 579 3006, thejockeyclub.co.uk/haydock.