After a curious number of years being held at the other end of the country in London, the Grand National weights lunch finally came back to Liverpool last year. And the great news is that it will held once again in 2020 in the heart of the city.
Liverpool‘s St George’s Hall has been chosen for the “big reveal” on Tuesday, February 11th 2020. The great and the good of the jump racing world will be hanging on every word of the BHA handicapper, Martin Greenwood.
As sure as night follows day, the top weight, and carrying 11st 10lb will be the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll. He will be bidding to become the first horse in history to win the race three years in a row and become only the second triple winner since Red Rum.
John Baker, Aintree Racecourse’s managing director, said: “We’re thrilled to host the Weights Lunch at the iconic and historic St George’s Hall, which has its own impressive history.
“We look forward to showcasing this wonderful city to our guests from across British and Irish Racing.”
Down On The Farm
Stroud trainer Tom George is non-committal at this stage about the path he is going to chart this season with his popular nine-year-old, Singlefarmpayment.
Affectionately known as “Pringle” at home, Singlefarmpayment was last seen running on into eighth place in last season’s Grand National behind Tiger Roll and his connections were very pleased with his efforts.
The Aintree experience has a habit of re-igniting a seasoned horse’s interest in their races, especially if they are a quirky sort like him, and that is just what happened with Pringle.
George is hoping that Pringle can kick on again from his day out on Merseyside and add to his near £100,000 career earnings in this new season.
“We’ve no specific plans,” said George. “He ran well in the National. We will just wait and see with him.
“We’ll probably end up running in the National again, but there are no firm plans.”
One of the best-staying steeplechasers in the country Definitly Red may well be targeted at the Grand National this season according to his trainer Brian Ellison.
Ellison says his main objectives are Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase at the start of November and Aintree’s Many Clouds Chase in early December. They are the same two Grade Two contests which “Red” won so impressively last season with Danny Cook on board.
From there, Ellison will contemplate whether another tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup is on the cards, or to head to Aintree where he will probably be allotted a fairly sizeable weight.
After Definitly Red’s recent racecourse gallop at Wetherby, Ellison was asked which route he was favouring for his stable star: “It’s up to Phil (Martin). He’s the boss.”
Definitly Red was pulled up in the 2017 National when Danny Cook’s saddle slipped shortly after jumping Becher’s Brook on the first circuit and he was brought down in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup when travelling well.
The ten-year-old has to be respected if he lands up at Aintree again and nobody would begrudge him a change of luck.