Friday 15 December 2017

Lavelle hoping Shotgun will make Welsh National field

Emma Lavelle: 'all systems go'
Emma Lavelle: 'all systems go'

Graham Clark

Emma Lavelle has her fingers crossed that Shotgun Paddy will make the cut for the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Tuesday.

The nine-year-old was third in last season's renewal but needs a handful of horses above him in the handicap to come out as the cut-off point is 20 runners.

"It is all systems go for the Welsh National. He did a lovely piece of work this morning to put him ready," said Lavelle.

"This has been the plan since Cheltenham. He will like the ground and the weather that is forecast to come in will suit.

"Five are going to have to come out if he is to get in and I would be disappointed if that didn't happen. It would be absolutely gutting if he didn't get in off 10st 10lb, but it looks a race that is getting better and better in quality.

"He has been in great order at home. I would have loved to have sent him to the last Cheltenham meeting, but the rain hadn't come in time."

The two horses which finished ahead of Shotgun Paddy in last season's rearranged January renewal, Mountainous and Firebird Flyer, are already guaranteed a run in the marathon.

Mountainous is seeking a record third win in the race after also being successful in December 2013. His trainer Kerry Lee also hopes to run second top-weight Bishops Road and Goodtoknow and Russe Blanc, which both need horses to come out.

Hennessy hero Native River heads the weights, with Neil Mulholland's Carole's Destrier, which was second to Colin Tizzard's stayer at Newbury, also in the mix.

Viva Steve and Warrantor are prominent in the ante-post market but as yet are not certain to get in the race. Those who are include Onenightinvienna, Vyta Du Roc and Viconte Du Noyer.

Meanwhile, Warren Greatrex is refusing to throw in the towel over fences with Grade One-winning hurdler One Track Mind.

Despite the six-year-old suffering defeats on both his chasing starts this season, the Upper Lambourn handler believes he can still carve out a career over the larger obstacles. Having trailed home last in Grade Two event at Newbury on his chasing bow, after failing to recover from a serious first-fence mistake, the five-times race winner could only finish third in a beginners' contest at Catterick last week.

Greatrex said: "He has come back fine, but we will get him checked out. There were positives to take out the race, but he is very much a work in progress.

"We will go steady with him, as he is still a relatively young horse. Newbury did hit his confidence hard. I think we would be jumping the gun if we switch him back to hurdles so early on - he deserves every chance to see if he can progress over fences."

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