In November 2015 it was quite a surprise when owners Paul and Clare Rooney moved a huge amount of their horses from the Donald McCain’s yard. Those that were moved include The Last Samuri who ultimately went to Kim Bailey’s yard where he finished second in the 2016 Grand National.
Unfortunately he wasn’t able to re-create that in 2017 and had to settle for 16th spot in the finishing order. Things did not improve in the 2018 renewal and The Last Samuri was ultimately pulled up at the 26th fence.
Now it seems, his time with Kim bailey is over and he left the stables to be trained by Harry Fry in what is expected to be his final season.
The always gracious Bailey has paid tribute to the popular and classy staying chaser on his blog, www.kimbaileyracing.com, saying: “It is always sad to lose a horse to another trainer, and especially one as popular and as much loved as TLS.
“Yes TLS will be hugely missed as he has been part of the furniture here for the last three years and wow what great days we have had on the racecourse with him too.
“How can I forget nearly winning that Grand National with him? it was heart-wrenching for all concerned, and we walked away saying, ‘If only it had not rained’.
“Sam loves those Aintree fences and he has showed that with two fabulous runs in the Becher Chase under top weight. He is tough, honest and a fabulously versatile jumper which he showed again when finishing third in this year’s Glenfarclas cross-country at Cheltenham.
“Sadly the razzmatazz of this years Grand National and the heat became too much for him.
“Yes he has been a pleasure to train and I wish his new trainer Harry Fry all the best, and I am sure he like us all here, will fall madly in love with this pocket rocket.
“Paul and Clare Rooney, who own TLS, feel that as this is probably his last season in training a new trainer should have a chance with him.
“To finish I would like to wish Paul, Clare and Harry all the best with TLS..They will have fun with him.. the ‘old boy’ showed last season that there is a still a big race to be won by him.”
Will we see The Last Samuri back gracing the fences at Aintree? He may very well go for the Becher Chase but whether or not he will attempt the Grand National in 2019 for a fourth time remains to be seen.