Vieux Lion Rouge is no stranger to the Aintree Grand National as he gears up for his third attempt at a win. Trained by David Pipe, he has an impressive record for getting around but so far a real shot at the title has eluded him.

From finishing in seventh place in 2016, he did manage to go one better in 2017 to complete the course in sixth position and now at nine years of age, he really could just be hitting his prime when it comes to the National.

He was well beaten in the Becher Chase back in December but yet again got around the notoriously difficult fences without many problems so clearly he’s a fluid jumper with plenty of stamina.

Prior to his last run out at Ascot, trainer David Pipe said: “He didn’t jump with his usual fluency over the Aintree fences last time and he didn’t run up to his best that day.

“At least he has got a few pounds off his back. We will just see what weight he gets for the National next week now.”

That weight turned out to be 10-09 from the BHA Handicapper, three less than last year which is a bonus over such a long distance.

As De Mee
In other news, Dame Judi Dench will definitely have a runner in the 2018 Grand National but can she add the title to her Oscars and Golden Globes?

She owns the seven-year-old Bay Gelding with businessman Andy Stewart. Trained by Paul Nicholls, As De Mee looks like he will be one of two runners that he saddles up this year.

Dame Judi said her love of racing began in France, when she saw a horse win that had the same name as her cat.

Though she has backed her own horse to win, Dame Judi said “I think I would put money on Definitly Red, by a fact of having a red headed grandson!

“Splash of Ginge as well – I’ve spent quite a lot of money on him!”