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Gutsy Giles Cross raises National hopes with trial win

| 19.02.2012

Giles Cross has seen his odds for Grand National success slashed from 33/1 to 20/1 following an impressive show at yesterday’s Grand National trial at Haydock.

The 4/1 favourite led from the front and, cooly ridden by Denis O’Regan, jumped well to hold off the late challenge of Neptune Collonges.

Welsh National winner Le Beau Bai, who beat Giles Cross into second place at Chepstow in December, came in third.

Although thriving in testing conditions, doubts remain over the ten-year-old’s ability over good ground, with O’Regan confirming as much after the race:

“I’d love to ride him in a Grand National, the only thing is he needs the ground soft. He’ll be nowhere near as effective on good.

“He’d love the Grand National, but whether he gets in I don’t know, and the ground has to be right.

“He’s such a legend, he never runs a bad race. I’m just delighted he has won a big race.”

Allotted a weight of 10st lb for Aintree in April, winning owner-breeder Kay Birchenhough was similarly cautious about their National chances:

“I always thought he had a big race in him, we just couldn’t shake Le Beau Bai off in the Welsh National but I was eager to take him on again.

“He could run in the National but the ground would have to be soft, if he didn’t go there he could go for the Irish National.”

Meanwhile, second-placed Neptune Collonges rallied well, and with Ruby Walsh tipped to ride him at Aintree, he too came in from 33/1 and is now 25/1 to win the National.



Richard Anderson