Pere on Becher mission
Published 17/11/2010 | 17:12
Notre Pere will attempt to defy the steadier of 11st 12lb in Sunday's totesport.com Becher Chase at Aintree.
Trainer Jim Dreaper is keen to give the 2008 Welsh National hero a crack over the big fences to see if he can be prepared for the John Smith's Grand National itself.
Notre Pere has not won since taking the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup in April 2009, but he made a pleasing reappearance at Thurles earlier this month when runner-up to Glencove Marina.
The County Dublin handler said: "We hope to be there. He's been fine since Thurles and it was fine for a first run. He had a blow, he just got left behind but he stayed on fine. We just need to have a run over the Aintree fences and see if we ought to maybe plan the season around having a go at the National."
Eoin Griffin is keeping a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to send The Last Derby over to Aintree.
The County Kilkenny trainer has already ruled out a crack at the ladbrokes.com Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan on Sunday because conditions will be testing for the six-year-old. Griffin would like to give the gelding experience over the National fences but does not want to give him a hard race.
He said: "I'll be keeping an eye on the ground. It looks pretty doubtful as he wants nice ground. At this stage of the season it wouldn't be fair to give him a hard race on unsuitable ground.
"I'll be monitoring the ground situation over the next day or two and make a decision, on Thursday evening maybe. The ground will definitely be too heavy in Ireland, that's for certain. I think they are giving it as good to soft, soft in places at Aintree."
Donald McCain has put Fabalu and Mill Side in the other race over part of the National course, the totesuper7 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, as well as the Becher.
McCain said: "At the moment I'm undecided about which race they'll run in. Both of them are doing grand and are ready. Fabalu is a grand horse and I've always liked him. Mill Side is lightly raced and I haven't had him very long, so I'm not sure whether he would be one for Aintree next spring but we're looking to go that way with Fabalu."