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Wilson Dennison feeling simply Grand ahead of National

By Ron McKnight

Published 07/04/2016

Well bred: Ruby Walsh rides Yorkhill to victory in the Neptune Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival
Well bred: Ruby Walsh rides Yorkhill to victory in the Neptune Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival
Tony McCoy and owner and sponsor Wilson Dennison at the Mid-Antrim Hunt Point to Point at Toomebridge

Ulster breeder Wilson Dennison aims to follow his stunning success at last month's Cheltenham Festival with glory in Saturday's Grand National.

Dennison, based in Templepatrick, had a superb hat-trick on day two of the Festival.

Yorkhill won the opening Neptune Hurdle, Blaklion landed the RSA Chase and Ballyandy triumphed in the Champion Bumper, all Grade One contests.

And, on the same day, Dennison - the leading owner on the Ulster point to point circuit, producing top youngsters that are then sold on to top jumps trainers - also saw Shaneshill finish runner-up in the RSA Chase and Ballymalin take second in the Champion Bumper.

All the horses were produced to win in local point to points.

"I think I was more excited than any of the owners, trainers or jockeys on the day - I was on a total high for the rest of the week but I didn't forget to send congratulations to all involved," he said.

Dennison will be in front of the television for the next three days having already noted the Aintree runners from his young horse nursery.

"Success breeds success - if the horses I sell progress and win races, especially at Cheltenham, the trainers and customers return when they are looking for new talented national hunt horses," he said.

"I always hope the horses will be lucky for the people who buy from me."

Dennison already has a Grand National "winner" to his credit having bought Bindaree as a foal and sold him as a three year old.

The winner of the 2002 Aintree Grand National was originally trained by George Stewart at Lisburn and following success in local points was sold to trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies who is a regular buyer of Dennison stock.

The Country Antrim nursery is full of young talent of all ages and Dennison has three of his former in-mates in the £1million showpiece on Saturday - Ballycasey, Bally Beaufort and Cogry.

"I wouldn't mind which won - it would just be nice to have sold a Grand National winner to connections," he said.

"My grandchildren Patrick and William take a very keen interest and ride out when school timetables permit. They would be thrilled that they had taught a future National winner to gallop and jump fences."

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