A known lover of the Haydock track, it came as no surprise when Lord Du Mesnil produced a gutsy performance to win the Grand National Trial in late February.
The gelding made all in a brave display, churning out a high level of stamina to fend off the imposing Achille in the final stages to claim success by half a length.
The eight-year-old already had two victories at the course under his belt, winning the Tommy Whittle and the Last Fling handicap chase the season previously.
A long-distance specialist, Richard Hobson’s runner has proven his ability at the extended distance and has shown no to little difficulty in handling weights at the higher end of the scale.
But his last victory comes with a ‘curse’ – no winner of the Grand National Trial has gone on to win the showpiece event in the same season.
Only two horses have won both contests in their career. Freebooter won the 1949 Trial before going on to win the 1950 Grand National and Sundew did the exact same in 1956 & 1957.
The immortal Red Rum did the reverse, as Ginger McCain’s star won two Grand Nationals in 1973 and 1974 before going on to win the Trial in 1975.
The racing legend is the closest to achieve the feat, as the then 10-year-old went on to come second in the 1975 renewal of the National Hunt showpiece.
In recent years, no Trial victor has come close to landing the main event. Only four winners of the contest have headed to Aintree in the last 12 years, with all of them failing to get into the places.
The best performance came from the 2017 winner Vieux Lion Rouge, who landed sixth for David Pipe. 2009 victor Rambling Minster finished twelfth, while Silver By Nature (2011) and Giles Cross (2012) were both pulled up on their respected attempts at glory.
Could Lord Du Mesnil make history here? The trends are currently in favour of Hobson’s talent.
10 of the past 12 winners made their debut start in the Grand National, with 19 of the past 25 winners being between the age 8-10.
However, only two of the last 23 winners had fallen twice or more in their career and with three falls so far, the Graded winner could find the Aintree fences tricky to navigate.
Nevertheless, the gelding’s form over 3m4f is significantly impressive and he could be worth some each-way value on the day.
Will Lord Du Mesnil break the Grand National Trial curse here? Who knows. Anything is possible in the world’s greatest steeplechase.