Grand National Meeting 4th - 6th April 2013 

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Henderson Hoping Gold Can Bring Back National Crown

Nicky Henderson looks very much as though he is on his way to finally wrestling the National Hunt trainers’ championship away from Paul Nicholls, and a win for his lively outsider Roberto Goldback in Saturday’s feature John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree would just about seal the deal.

Roberto Goldback
© Racehorse Photos

Roberto Goldback

It’s nearly three decades since Henderson saddled the likes of Zongalero and The Tsarevich to run into a place in ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’ , the Aintree marathon having repeatedly evaded his grasp despite the Seven Barrows handler having saddled some well fancied runners in the four-and-a-half-mile contest over the years.

Roberto Goldback, formerly trained in Ireland by both Jessie Harrington and Dessie Hughes, joined Henderson as recently as late-October of last year and very quickly made himself at home on British soil by impressively landing the Grade 3 United House Construction Gold Cup at Ascot just a week later.

He incurred a 12lb rise in the weights for his nine-length defeat of Duke of Lucca but was still in touch when blundering and unseating Jeremiah McGrath at the 13th fence in the Hennessy Gold Cup four weeks later, eventually won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Bobs Worth.

After a couple of disappointing subsequent runs, Roberto Goldback - who runs these days in the colours of successful jumps owner, Simon Munir - ran a much better race when fifth behind Opening Batsman at Kempton in February in the Grade 3 Racing Plus Chase.

He has reportedly been in rude health ever since, prompting speculation that the current 33/1 shot in the Grand National betting could well give each-way supporters a very decent run for their money.

Most ground comes alike to the dual Grade 2 chase winner and with a little luck-in-running it would not surprise to see Henderson’s charge giving a very good account of himself, a point worth remembering if you are planning to place a Grand National bet this weekend.


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