Russell's raids

Lucinda Russell has made the Betfred Grand National Trial title her own property in recent years with her frequent Haydock Park raids from north of the border.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 11:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 12:55 pm
Lie Forrit (left)on the way to winning last year's race
Lie Forrit (left)on the way to winning last year's race

Scotland’s leading National Hunt trainer saw Silver by Nature collect back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011 in Haydock’s Grade 3 Grand National Trial.

And the veteran Lie Forrit, a huge favourite with jump fans, was crowned champion last year following a thrilling finish to deny Harry The Viking.

“I love the Grand National Trial, it is always a special day and Haydock Park has always been very good to us,” said Russell, who retired Lie Forrit last month.

“They do things the right way there and it always seems to suit our horses who are usually the strong, staying types.

“Last year was incredible, it was Lie Forrit’s final win and I’ll never forget how he fought tooth and nail to get over the line.

“It is one of my great training memories.”

She added: “I’ve never known a horse like him.

“He was never flash but not many could get past him.”

Lie Forrit ran in the colours of Lesley Gillies, mother of the late jockey Campbell Gillies, and his grandfather John McNeil.

Gillies drowned in a swimming pool the day before his 22nd birthday while on holiday in Corfu.

The Scottish jockey rode more than 50 winners for Russell and the connection became one of jump racing’s most poignant stories of recent times.

McNeil will present the Betfred Grand National Trial trophy to the winning owners on Saturday.

“I had always admired Lie Forrit from before I had ever trained him and when Campbell died, we were thrilled to be sent the horse to continue the link between the yard and the family,” said the trainer.

“His determination, ability and intelligence instantly stood out, and there were a few tears when he left the 

Dual National Trial winner Silver by Nature was the winner of seven of his 28 races, but died in 2013 after breaking his leg on the gallops.

But the memories are just as fresh for Russell and her team, who could be represented by One For Arthur at Haydock on Saturday.

“We still miss him because Silver by Nature was one of the kindest most honest creatures that ever walked this Earth, and I wish he was still with us now.

“The world is a sadder place without him and we will remember with pride those two wonderful days at Haydock.”

The Betfred Grand National Trial is this Saturday, February 20. The first race is at 
1.30pm. For tickets, call 0344 579 3006.