A Northumberland-based trainer is hopeful that her first runner in the world’s most famous jumps race will cope with the demands of the Aintree obstacles.
Carlito Brigante, who won the Barmoor Handicap Chase at Kelso in October, will be among the 40 horses taking part in this year’s Grand National.
He is trained by Karen McLintock at the Byerley Stud in Ingoe, located to the south west of Belsay. She was an assistant trainer for nine years before taking over the licence herself from Don Eddy in 2005.
McLintock, who has had more than 250 top three placings as a trainer, has mixed feelings ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race.
She said: “It’s nice to have a horse of this calibre to train and I’m very excited about the Grand National, although I’m a little apprehensive because it’s a big step up for him.
“Along with many of the other runners, this is the longest race of his career (the distance is four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs) so I will be very happy if he completes the course. It’s encouraging that he did so well in the Barmoor Handicap Chase, which was run over three miles and two furlongs.
“If he finishes in the first half dozen, I will be over the moon.
“He is very sensible and level-headed, which will help him cope with the preliminaries and the atmosphere at Aintree. He is very straightforward and precise when it comes to jumping fences and hopefully, he will be able to stay on all four feet.
“I really enjoy training horses and it’s great when they fulfil their potential. It’s a demanding role as there’s always new challenges to meet.”
McLintock paid £32,000 to purchase Carlito Brigante in August 2013 and he is now owned by 06 Zoo Ltd, which is run by Alan Lamont.
Brian Harding is his jockey – Harding has completed the course seven times in his nine previous Grand National rides.