Le Mercurey, one of five intended runners for Paul Nicholls in the Randox Health Grand National a week on Saturday, will run in same colours as 1992 winner Party Politics after he was bought by Patricia Thompson it was announced on Tuesday.
Mrs Thompson and her husband David, who are better known on the Flat for their ownership of Cheveley Park Stud and a string of top horses incuding last year's Breeders' Cup winner Queen's Trust, famously bought Party Politics from his owner-breeder David Stoddart on the eve of the race. Not only did the 17.2hands giant win it when he beat Romany King, he went on to finish runner-up to Royal Athlete three years later.
More recently Mrs Thompson has also bought Character Building and Mumbles Head to carry her silks in the race though with less luck.
Le Mercurey, a seven-year-old formerly owned by Chris Giles and Colm Donlon, has some decent form this season chasing home Many Clouds on the Mildmay course at Aintree in December and filling the same position behind Native River in the Denman Chase at Newbury. Sean Bowen will ride him.
Speaking on his Betfair blog, Nicholls said: “Mrs Thompson has been an owner here for some time and has done well with Boa Island this season. She was looking for a National contender with solid form and Le Mercurey fits the bill. She bought Party Politics a few days before the 1992 National and I’m hoping she strikes lucky again.”
Le Mercurey, who is a 33-1 shot, is not the only one of the Nicholls’s National runners to change hands shortly before this year’s race. Vicente, last year’s Scottish National winner, was bought earlier this month by Trevor Hemmings while Just A Par is due to go through the ring at Aintree a week today.
The 10-year-old, who won the 2015 Bet365 Gold Cup and was runner-up in it last year, won a veterans chase under Harry Cobden at Newbury last time.
His other runners are Sam Twiston-Davies’s mount Saphir Du Rheu who was fifth in the Gold Cup and the Foxhunters runner-up Wonderful Charm who will be ridden by Katie Walsh.