Kimberlite Candy bids for Grand National glory at Aintree in April and his handler Tom Lacey speaks to aintree.co.uk ahead of the Merseyside showcase.
Lacey provides an update on other members of his Cottage Field stable runners who will also make the long trip to Merseyside for the first Grand National Festival in two years.
His flurry of yard stars who have provided the Herefordshire trainer with Graded winners in the last year will all bid to end the campaign on a high, which started with a victory in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow back in October.
That successor Tea Clipper, as well as Leamington Novices’ Hurdle victor Adrimel, are the Cheltenham Festival duo who will bid to overturn their fortunes in the north-west following their Gloucestershire exploits.
Read Tom’s interview below.
Adrimel gave you your biggest success to date as a trainer in the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle. Are we likely to see him again this season and will he go chasing in the Autumn?
Admirel is entered in the two-and-a-half mile and three mile novice hurdles at Aintree. He will definitely go chasing in the autumn, and I’d say some of the nicer novice chases at the likes of Sandown will be his target.
How’s Kimberlite Candy preparation been ahead of The Grand National? Is he a straightforward horse to train?
His preparation has been very good. Yes – he’s a very straightforward horse to train. He always shows signs of wellbeing by rein raking, squealing and the rest of it, so very straightforward.
What’s your first Grand National memory?
Probably West Tip – although I’ve got many fond memories of the Grand National’s of old. Durham Edition was always very consistent, and Chris Grant would always give him a proper ride. I remember backing Little Poliver the year he won having fallen the year before when going really well.
What would it mean to you to win The Grand National?
Obviously, it’s the most watched race across the world and of course it would be wonderful to win it.
Tea Clipper finished a solid third in the Coral Cup – will he be making the trip to the Merseyside course next month?
Yes – he’ll be going to Aintree for the three-mile handicap.
As a trainer & a producer of young horses, what was your take on the Irish domination of the Cheltenham Festival?
I’m fascinated and I’ve actually requested the information from Tattersalls Ireland to see what percentage of stores are bought for point-to-pointing in Ireland. Obviously, you’ve got the French imports but predominately the horses are produced through the Irish point-to-point field. The bigger yards are contacting point-to-point trainers as early as October, touching base again around December. They’re looking at them in December before they’ve run and trainers have got the schooling bumper facilities, so the cream comes to the top and it’s very easy to promote your best horses and almost impossible to sell your midrange and lesser ones.
Energumene is one of the many stars you’ve produced a Cottage Field stables, what made you buy him as a store and did he always stand out?
Yes – he was quality from the moment we sat on his back. He found life incredibly easy and the way he picked up having missed the last at Larkhill and put ground between the second horse was astonishing for such a young horse. I bought him because I thought he was a lovely specimen, a big and strong individual who had a good-go about him. He has his faults, but he is a fine horse, and he came very well recommended by the vendor.
The grassroots of National Hunt Racing, Point-to-Pointing, gets back underway this week. How many do you have to run, and do you have another Energumene to unleash?
We don’t have many point-to-pointers to run this time. We’ve got one running at Maisemore on Tuesday called Algesiras who goes very nicely, and I’d hope he will go close. No – we don’t have another Energumene on our books at the moment!