Notachance raises Scottish Grand National hopes after winning Classic Chase

Bruce Jackson
·2-min read
Notachance, ridden by Tom Cannon (right), clears the last to win the Classic Chase - PA
Notachance, ridden by Tom Cannon (right), clears the last to win the Classic Chase - PA

The inappropriately named Notachance seized his opportunity to advance Grand National claims with his latest success in the Warwick Classic on Saturday, but Aintree is not on the agenda.

The joint favourite, with third-placed Le Breuil, has given his supporters a run for their money in all his chases and trainer Alan King hopes it will prove the same again in the Coral Scottish Grand National in April.

King is not a fan of the Aintree version and neither is joint owner Tim Leadbeater, whose West End Rocker had a bad experience when brought down at Becher’s ten years ago.

Instead Scotsman King will be hoping to add a second ‘home’ win at Ayr after Godsmejudge’s success in 2013. Tom Cannon had Notachance slipstreaming the strong pace set by last year’s runner-up Captain Chaos, admitting he hit the front earlier than he wanted before the home turn at the third-last before holding off outsider Achilles by half a length.

In contrast to the winner the placed pair, Achille and Le Breuil, still have one eye on Aintree, although they are likely to clash for that honour in the Grand National Trial at Haydock on February 20.

Achille has the sort of fairytale associated with many National winners, having been written off with injury but persevered with during a 427-day absence. The 11-year-old grey is also owned by Vida Bingham and trained by Venetia Williams, responsible for 100-1 National winner Mon Mome 12 years ago.

Trainer Ben Pauling is desperate to get Le Breuil up the few pounds needed to guarantee a run at Aintree and it was easy to see why, as the former winner of Cheltenham’s NH Chase again showed anything less than four miles just is not far enough.

Tom Lacey enjoys this Warwick meeting, having won the Classic with Kimberlite Candy last year, and landed his first Grade 2 success when Adrimel made all under Richard Johnson to win the Leamington Hurdle. Lacey is preparing Kimberlite Candy for the Grand National, for which he was among the favourites before it was cancelled last year. The Kilbray Chase at Ascot on 20 February is the only time the nine-year-old will be seen before the big day.

Eileendrover added to her reputation and good Flat pedigree when seeing off Irish challenger Grangee in third with an impressive burst of speed in the Market Rasen bumper, which featured four other unbeaten runners. Trainer Pam Sly, who owns and bred the four-year-old with her son Michael, has fended off offers as she did with her 1,000 Guineas winner Speciosa.

That remained their stance with the trainer also keen to bypass the Cheltenham champion bumper, looking to a possible campaign on the Flat next summer.