Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 22 March 2018

Notre Pere unlikely to run in Grand National after dry spell

Thomas Kelly

Notre Pere is set to miss the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday due to the prolonged dry spell.

The 10-year-old requires plenty of cut in the ground and is highly unlikely to get his preferred conditions.

His trainer Barry Potts is now looking to the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup, which the horse won on heavy ground in 2009 when he was with Jim Dreaper, as long as conditions ease appreciably.

"It looks highly unlikely that he'll run on Monday," said the Tyrone handler. "There is the Punchestown Gold Cup but we'll play it by ear with him as it's not looking good at the moment. It's one of the driest springs I've seen in a while.

"We won't abuse him on quick ground and if we look after him we'll have him for next year. We'll look at staying chases next season -- the likes of the Welsh Grand National (a race he won in 2008)."

Another trainer with severe reservations about the ground is Mervyn Torrens, who has warned he will not risk Hughies Grey if the going is on the firm side.

The Omagh trainer may assess conditions for himself before deciding whether to run his progressive novice chaser.

"I would love to run him but I'm just scared of the ground. If there is anything fast about the ground he won't run," said Torrens.

"He has won on heavy ground and while it wasn't too bad at Navan last time they weren't getting anything like the weather then that we are now. The sun is beaming down."

The grey scored in Grade Two company at Navan last time, having taken the Ulster National on his previous start and has gone up 26lb in the ratings since the start of the season.

"The further they go the better for him and he's in great order. I'm actually sitting on him as we speak!" added Torrens.

"He's only seven and if it was a situation that it was his last chance or something we might take a chance but he's only a novice.

"If he doesn't run he'll go out to grass and could come back for the James Nicholson Chase (at Down Royal).

"Personally I don't like watered tracks as they can be very patchy. I might take a drive down to Fairyhouse on Sunday and have a look for myself before making a decision."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport