VENETIA Williams could be on course for Aintree glory again after the Wye Valley trainer’s horse Quick Wave won a thrilling Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
The King’s Caple trainer famously tasted Grand National triumph in 2009 with 100-1 shot Mon Mome, ridden by Liam Treadwell.
And Quick Wave’s odds for the world’s most famous steeplechase were unsurprisingly slashed following a tenacious display at Haydock.
Racing TV (www.racingtv.com) reported that her charge lined up with questions to answer after being pulled up when favourite for the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December, and came to the start as an 18-1 shot in the hands of Harry Bannister.
Stablemate Cloudy Glen, who also holds an Aintree engagement and was making his first appearance in over a year, also raced with zest on the front end for much of the three-and-a-half-mile journey, while Bannister was more patient aboard his mount.
With Cloudy Glen beginning to feel effects of his early exertions, it turned into a straight shootout from halfway up the straight, with popular mare Snow Leopardess and Quick Wave going at it. There was little to choose between the pair jumping the final fence and both gave it their all, but it was Quick Wave who just found most for pressure to prevail by three-quarters of a length.
Betfred cut the winner to 25-1 from 50s for the Grand National.
Bannister, riding his first winner since returning from a serious hip injury, said: “I can’t take too much credit, she’s a lovely mare. Credit to Venetia and the team who had her spot-on today.
“Venetia is an exceptional trainer and it means a lot to get this winner back. It’s been a long road and there’s lots of people to thank. I probably ended up a bit closer to the inner than I would have liked, but we saved what we could, she’s jumped really well and travels so strongly and stays well.
“She showed her staying credentials and she appreciated being back on this better ground after the Welsh National.”
Two other triumphs for the Wye Valley yard saw Tanganyika take the handicap hurdle at Carlisle, while Easy As That also won at Newcastle.