Ludlow winner Quick Wave to provide Williams with strong hand in Randox Grand National
Quick Wave added to Venetia Williams stable of top flight winners on Saturday last with a game win in the dour conditions of Haydock’s Grand National Trial, and put herself in the frame for a tilt at the real thing in April. She is one of 3 entries by the Ross-on-Wye handler in pursuit of a second winner of the race following Mon Mome in 2009 and the shortest-priced of Williams’ 3 entries at 25/1.
Although the weights are now published, Grand National betting is yet to hot up, and inevitably shifts after key races at the Festival a fortnight hence. Not least among these will be the performance of Noble Yeats in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, seeking to give Robert Waley-Cohen a second National in as many years at a considerably shorter price than the 50/1 of 2022.
Quick Wave has plenty of attributes to become the first mare since Nickel Coin in 1951 to win the world’s most famous steeplechase. She is a Ludlow graduate, having won a handicap chase here in January of last year. More recently, winner of the London National at Sandown in December, she won that valuable contest comfortably but found the testing conditions at Chepstow for the Welsh National an altogether more arduous effort.
Connections of Quick Wave are no strangers to the sport either. Running in the colours of Sharon Kinsella, the horse is owned by Sharon and partner Barry Hurley, one-time breeder and racing nut, who became the first ever sponsor of the Queen Mother Champion Chase under the banner of his property business, Seasons Holidays, back in 2007. A cheeky chappie with a knack for business, the sport has found a friend in the Wiltshire-based Hurley, who also has horses on the Flat with the Charltons at nearby Beckhampton.
Saturday’s rider Harry Bannister was enjoying a first success since returning from an ugly injury incurred at Stratford last October. He’ll be hoping Venetia Williams runs more than one in the big race in order to retain the ride, and given Cloudy Glen’s third in the same Haydock race, there is every opportunity that will be the case.
Much attention has been focused by commentators on the preponderance of Irish entries in Aintree’s showpiece race, with just a third of the 85 entries from UK – based trainers. it’s certainly the case that the Irish have dominated the race in recent years, but quantity is not everything. In Quick Wave, Royal Pagaille and Cloudy Glen, Venetia Williams has entries that can stand their ground against the best Ireland can throw at the race.
Roll on April 15th.