Douglas Pryde set on Grand National ‘double’

Auroras Encore ridden by jockey Ryan Mania won this year's Grand National. Picture: PA
Auroras Encore ridden by jockey Ryan Mania won this year's Grand National. Picture: PA
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SCOTTISH owner Douglas Pryde could be double-handed as he attempts to retain the Grand National at Aintree next April.

The Borders businessman and co-owner Jim Beaumont, successful with Ryan Mania-ridden 66-1 chance Auroras Encore at Aintree last spring, have recently bought The Knoxs and he will also be aimed at the 2014 marathon.

Pryde, who also has D P van Der Hoeven as a co-owner of Auroras Encore, said: “The Knoxs used to be with Howard Johnson and Paul Nicholls and was owned by Graham and Andrea Wylie. I think he could well make up into an Aintree type – that’s the dream at the moment anyway.

“Harvey Smith tells me his jumping is much improved and, ideally, he’ll have a couple of races over hurdles to start off.”

Speaking at the Scottish Racing jumps media day at Musselburgh, he added: “As [trainer] Sue Smith has said, Auroras Encore has done exceptionally well over the summer and, if he wasn’t ready for the Charlie Hall Chase, he could run at Aintree next month – I would expect he would only have two or three runs before the Grand National.”

Trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner, Peter Scudamore, also talked of their National dream, but in their case it was the Scottish equivalent at Ayr. Scudamore, who won the Coral-sponsored race twice as a jockey, said: “It’s our ambition to win the Scottish National and – given soft ground – you never know, Silver By Nature could still do it.”

Meanwhile, Sky Lantern and Toronado’s participation on Champions Day at Ascot is still uncertain, which would leave Olympic Glory as Richard Hannon’s only runner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.



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