Those familiar with Vintage Clouds will be delighted to hear that the plan is to send him back to Aintree for the 2020 Grand National. One of the few grey horses to take part in 2019, hopes were high for the Sue Smith trained nine-year-old. Despite Tiger Roll being the clear favourite for the race, Vintage Cloud fans back him into a short starting price with odds of just 11/1.
However, things most certainly did not go to plan and Vintage CLouds fell at the first under jockey Danny Cook. So with the Aintree dream over, connections decided to take him to Ayr for the Scottish Grand National the following week. There he ran a solid race, finishing in 6th place. Though that wasn’t as good a result as 2018 when he finished in 3rd place.
Prior to his return this season, jockey Danny Cook gave an update at a press event at Wetherby. Speaking about the 2019 National, Cook said: “He jumped the first fence at Aintree too well and came down steeply.
“The plan is to run him in the Becher Chase in early December to get some experience of the fences, before another attempt at the Grand National.”
Vintage Clouds Seasonal Return
So with summer break under his belt, the Trevor Hemming’s owned Vintage Clouds returned to action on October 26th at Kelso. He finished fifth from seven runners but anybody who has watched the race won’t have been inspired by his run.
Boys ready pic.twitter.com/cUu8WSAbnR
— Sue Smith Racing 🐎 (@suesmithracing) October 26, 2019
With 12 fences to jump, Vintage Clouds faded very quickly from the ninth. He then struggled a lot, holding up the rear for the rest of the race. The fact that he finished 5th is only because the other two runners faded more than he did.
The Becher Chase
With a few weeks to bring him back to his usual consistent self, connections have entered him into the Becher Chase at Aintree. That race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 7th. Run over 3m 2f it is usually seen as a good indicator for the runners who also have one eye on the Grand National.
Vintage Clouds is just one of 59 entries this year and there is plenty of competition. The Nigel Twiston-Davies Ballyoptic, as well as Gordon Elliott’s Borice, are both in contention. So too is Definitly Red and the much-hyped Give Me A Copper from Paul Nicholls.
However, the biggest competition could come from last year’s winner and runner-up. Walk The Mill took the honours in 2018 with Vieux Lion Rouge in second place. Both are entered again. Despite their experience over the Aintree fences, the are by no means the race favourites and are priced at odds of 12/1 and 14/1 respectively with Paddy Power.
Vintage Clouds Grand National 2020
Vintage Clouds was simply unlucky when running in last season’s National. He took the fence too well so we really have no idea about his true prospects in the race. So now we look to his Becher run to determine if there really is a solid chance that he can put in a decent performance next April.
One thing I will point out though is that since 2010 only one runner who fell at the first fence in one Grand National returned the following year. That was Viking Blond who fell in 2012 and was pulled-up at the 14th fence in 2013.
So if Vintage Clouds does come back and goes further than the 14th, he will at least be one of the few runners to have done so, which is an achievement in itself. Right now ante-post odds for the 2020 Grand National put the grey on 40/1. So if you fancy his chances, it may be a decent early punt to take.