David Pipe has Haydock and Ascot choices in mind for Vieux Lion Rouge

Thu 8 Feb 2018

David Pipe will monitor the weather before deciding where Vieux Lion Rouge will have his prep run for a third tilt at the Randox Health Grand National.

The Nicholashayne handler intends to run the nine-year-old a week on Saturday in either the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock or the Keltbray Swinley Chase at Ascot. 

Last year's Grand National sixth has failed to feature in two starts this season after finishing down the field in both the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his return and most recently in the Becher Chase at Aintree.

Pipe said: "Vieux Lion Rouge will possibly go back to Haydock for the Grand National Trial which he won last year, although he will have an entry in the three-mile Listed handicap chase at Ascot on the same day. We will just see what the weather does.

"He didn't jump with his usual fluency over the Aintree fences last time and he didn't run up to his best that day. At least he has got a few pounds off his back. We will just see what weight he gets for the National next week now."

A step up in both class and trip appear on the cards for Daklondike, who is three from five this season, in the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle on February 24.

Pipe added: "At this stage Daklondike is more likely to go to Newcastle for the Eider Chase. Obviously he has the choice of the going to Haydock as well if we want to.

"He is progressive and he has done well this season. He gives the impression he will get four miles, but you don't know for sure until they go over it and it's worth a try."

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