RICHARD Newland is already looking forward to seeing Pineau De Re defend his crown in next year’s Crabbie’s Grand National following his brilliant display at Aintree.
The 11-year-old produced prodigious leaps at the final two obstacles and galloped all the way to the line up the famously punishing run-in to seal a famous victory in the hands of Leighton Aspell.
The veteran warmed up for his Merseyside mission with a fantastic effort in defeat in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham over hurdles and Newland intends to take in a few races over the smaller obstacles as part of his preparation for the world’s greatest steeplechase next term.
Newland was delighted to report his stable star to be none the worse for his exertions and confirmed that he will now be given a well-deserved holiday.
“He gave 110 per cent on Saturday, but he was fine the next morning,” he said. “He’s going to go up in the handicap now and it won’t be easy for him next season, as there aren’t a lot of races.
“We’d like to bring him back and have another go at the National, so perhaps we’ll go down the hurdling route and maybe do a similar thing to this year. He deserves a nice summer break now.”
Newland added: “We came home on Saturday night and had a nice party in the village.”
However, Newland and the connections of Pineau De Re kept up the winning run with a double at Market Rasen yesterday.
While it would be pushing it to suggest that Newland and owner John Provan enjoyed the success of Dalmo in the Racing UK Lady Riders’ Selling Handicap Hurdle as much as that of Pineau De Re, they are on such a high it will have been difficult to feel any happier.
To cap an amazing 24 hours, Newland then teamed up with Pineau De Re’s rider Aspell to win the Double M Novices’ Chase with Ardkilly Witness – who Newland hopes might win him another major race before the season is out. Newland and Provan arrived in Lincolnshire by helicopter weighed down by several bottles of champagne.
Newland explained: “I saw that AP McCoy had hired a helicopter to go racing the day after the National and I thought I’d try the same thing – it’s something I’ve never done before in my life.”
The 8/11 favourite Ardkilly Witness was second to Smad Place earlier in the season and was a gallant runner-up in the valuable Betfred Masters at Sandown, with a return to the Esher venue now on the cards.
“I’d hoped he’d do it like that,” said Newland. “His novice status ends in two months so I wanted him to have one more run against novices as he’ll be in handicaps the rest of his life. His target is the Bet365 Gold Cup.
“I’ve only got 12 horses and a lot seem to be staying chasers but I haven’t specifically looked for them, it’s just how they’ve turned out.”