By News Team
Last Updated: 8th April 2021
William Hill ambassador and two-time Grand National-winning trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, previews this year’s race and two other runners on the Saturday at Aintree.
I first won the National back in 1998 with Earth Summit, and that transformed everything for us.
But then we went through a bit of a lull and, to be completely honest, I was set on packing everything up before Bindaree went and won it in 2002.
I was certain that we were done as a yard, that’s what I’d told everybody. We were going to sell up, go somewhere smaller and just have a couple of horses for the boys. Thankfully, Bindaree was a class horse.
He used to keep a bit for himself, but the National brought out the best in him and he found it easy on the day.
Without him we wouldn’t be where we are now, and we’re heading into this year’s Grand National with two more live chances.
The Grand National (5:15pm)
Bristol De Mai is a lovely horse. He’s the class horse and he’s top-weight for a reason – he’s the best horse in the race. He jumps for fun, gallops all day and I think everything is right for him.
Obviously, there will be a few that are likely to be better handicapped, but they’ve all got him to beat.
Some could question his stamina, and I suppose there’s a danger that he could run with the choke out and run out of petrol, but I hope not.
He always seems to run on strongly at the end of his races, particularly on the flatter tracks like Haydock and Aintree, and on bottomless ground too, so he should stay.
I’ve got great hopes for Ballyoptic too. He fell in the race two years ago at the fourth last and that was just plain unlucky.
Fingers crossed he’ll jump round well this time and to me he appears to be in the form of his life.
He ran well two starts ago back in January in the Classic Chase at Warwick and I think he’s really starting to come back to himself.
Other Saturday runners
Grand National aside, Super Six in the bumper (6:20pm) is probably the one we’re most confident about. He’s the second-best horse in the race on ratings and we think he could be a bit better than that too.
He ran well to finish sixth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham given he got in all sorts of trouble on the way round and finished his race well. He’s probably our best chance of the week.
Guard Your Dreams lines up on the Saturday too in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2:25pm).
Everything went wrong for him in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and he still wasn’t beaten that far. There are some very smart horses in there, but many of them have had quite long seasons compared to us and we’re hoping he can do something.