La Bague Au Roi in great form and all set for Aintree
La Bague Au Roi, whose form was franked in fine fashion at the Cheltenham Festival, is primed for an assault on Aintree having delighted trainer Warren Greatrex at home.
Greatrex said the 152-rated chaser will have multiple entries at next week’s Randox Health Grand National meeting, with preference for the 3m1f Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase on April 5.
The eight-year-old is unbeaten in four starts over fences this season, winning twice at Grade 1 level including a defeat of RSA Chase hero Topofthegame and runner-up Santini, who is set to reoppose at Aintree, in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Greatrex said: “She’s been in great form since her last victory in the Flogas Novice Chase in Ireland and is the type who doesn’t require a lot of work and keeps herself fairly fit and well. Obviously her form from Kempton looks pretty good now after what happened in the RSA. She’ll school once more and have a bit more work before next week but I couldn’t be happier with her really.”
Paul Nicholls has yet to decide if Topofthegame will line up against La Bague Au Roi and Santini at Aintree. The trainer said: “He’s cantering away and doing all the normal stuff and he could run, but we want to see what’s what, and I’m not committing to anything yet.”
After a quiet Cheltenham where he saddled only three runners, Greatrex is also looking forward to saddling exciting novice hurdler Emitom, who was forced to sidestep the festival after his prep race was lost during the equine flu outbreak.
The unbeaten five-year-old, who beat the now 143-rated Lisnagar Oscar on his hurdling debut at Ffos Las in November, will be aimed at either the 3m½f Sefton Novices’ Hurdle or the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles.
“I think he’s actually improved again since Newbury,” Greatrex said. “To give away a double penalty in his last race was very smart and that was the first time he’s actually had to get his head down and work a little bit. I think when young horses are just winning easily they’re prone to not learning much from their races.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked so far and we’ve minded him all season. Now it’s time to see if he can win a big race.”