Lake View Lad

Lake View Lad's Cheltenham Performance Highlights His Grand National Credentials

Beware The Bear secured Nicky Henderson a valuable victory in the Ultima Handicap Chase on day two of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, and as a result, he took up the majority of the column inches the following day. However, there was an eye-catching performance from the Trevor Hemmings-owned Lake View Lad, who was staying on strongly behind the leaders, eventually finishing third. He was gathering plenty of momentum during the final couple of furlongs, and the nine-year-old has been attracting some interest in the betting markets ahead of Aintree's Randox Health Grand National.

The Ultima also highlighted the credentials of the Yorkshire-trained Vintage Clouds, with trainer Sue Smith hoping to give Trevor Hemmings his fourth success in the world-famous steeplechase. However, it was the performance of Lake View Lad which undoubtedly caught the eye and attracted the most attention. The nine-year-old was staying on superbly, passing a number of tired horses up the Prestbury Park hill, but was just unable to catch the leading pair. Saddled with a bigger weight than both Beware the Bear and Vintage Clouds, Lake View Lad looked like he will relish the extra yardage offered by the Aintree showpiece on April 6th. He has yet to travel beyond 3mile 2furlongs, but he does seem to shape as if he would like further.

Despite being forced to lump 11st 12lb around the energy-sapping Cheltenham course, the nine-year-old will be carrying 15lb less in the Randox Health Grand National, and that weight relief should not be underestimated. Questions were asked about his ability to compete in big-field contests, but those have since been put to rest. Henry Brooke found a decent position in the 24-strong field and guided Nick Alexander's charge to a third-place finish with very little trouble from any of its rivals.

Punters have been snapping up quotes of 16/1 about the ever-improving chaser, who was victorious in both the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and the Roland Meyrick Handicap at Wetherby. His price is shortening ahead of the Aintree spectacle, and he will surely give a good account of himself at the Merseyside track.

One of the great debates surrounding the Randox Health Grand National is whether to focus on horses who have raced at Cheltenham or whether to concentrate on those who have skipped the festival and been specifically aimed at the Steeplechase. Lake View Lad is one of a number of market principles who raced in Gloucestershire this year, but Will Hoffmann, who provides Grand National racing tips for today at betting.betfair, suggests that there could be value in backing well-rested horses such as Mall Dini and Cogry at bigger prices. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, this year's renewal looks set to provide another hugely competitive 40-strong field, and Lake View Lad is currently one of the best-backed horses in the ante-post betting.

Nick Alexander has previously stressed that his charge prefers soft ground, and connections will undoubtedly be paying careful attention to the weather forecast over the coming weeks. Further rainfall would be beneficial to the nine-year old's cause, with all of his wins coming on good-to-soft, soft or heavy ground so far.

There were plenty of Grand National clues on show at this year's Cheltenham Festival, but Lake View Lad's performance in the Ultima was one of the more eye-catching moments, and punters have been fairly swift to react. He is likely to put in a solid and determined performance once again, and may potentially be involved at the business end of the 2019 Randox Health Grand National.

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