Nigel Twiston-Davies reports Blaklion to be none the worse for his exhausting run at Haydock and to be heading straight for the Randox Health Grand National.
The nine-year-old retained his place at the head of the ante-post market at around 12-1 for the world’s greatest steeplechase at Aintree in April, despite having to settle for runner-up spot in the Betfred Grand National Trial for the second successive year.
While he was only beaten three and a quarter lengths by Vieux Lion Rouge 12 months ago on good to soft ground, conditions were much more gruelling on Merseyside at the weekend. As a result he finished a tired 54 lengths behind winner Yala Enki at the line and was dismounted before entering the winner’s enclosure.
Twiston-Davies has now ruled out the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and will concentrate on preparing Blaklion for another crack at the National, in which he was fourth last spring.
“He’s fine, he’s 100 per cent,” said Twiston-Davies.
“He’s going straight for the National. He’s not going to Cheltenham. We’re saving him for Aintree.”