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Boxford trainer trainer gives his opinions ahead of big race





BOXFORD trainer Harry Derham has revealed his secrets for Grand National success and outlined which horse best fits the bill for this year’s race.

Following rule changes for this year’s race, Derham - speaking exclusively to his sponsors OLBG - also applauded the Jockey Club’s decision due to ‘uncomfortable’ viewing in previous years.

He also noted how recent reductions in prize money are a sign of the times.

Who is your pick for Grand National week?

“If I Am Maximus jumps and takes the fences I think he’ll win, he stays very well - a classy horse.

“Willie (Mullins) says he might be a Gold Cup horse, he’s not always the most fluent at times; but if he takes to the fences I think he’s the best horse in the race.”

What type of horse do you think it takes to win a Grand National these days?

“You’ve got to be a very good horse even to get in the race these days, as Corach Rambler showed last year after finishing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“You need to be very high-class with maybe seven pounds up your sleeve!”

What would be your advice for picking a Grand National winner?

“My advice for picking a Grand National winner would be to have three beers, close your eyes and pick one!

“Joking aside, I think 20 years ago that was probably the case, but nowadays it’s a very high class race; so I think that you probably need a horse who is going to stay very well, but has Grade One class.

“Before, you probably needed a bit of luck, a very good jumper and lots of things. Now, you need an awful lot of class.”

What do you make of changes to the rules in the Grand National?

“I applaud the Jockey Club for being proactive, because last year, whether or not you are a horse racing fan or not, it was uncomfortable watching at times, there’s no doubt about that.

“I do slightly worry that the changes we make are never going to appease the people who are opposed to the race.

“I don’t think they want to see change, they just want to see it not happen.

“I’d be slightly nervous to see the fences becoming not enough of a test, because I think that the race has changed.

“Before, you had to have a very good jumper, and they went a bit slower because the jumps were so big; and you had to have a proper horse to go and jump them.

“Nowadays, it’s a very different race, more horses finish because it’s not so much of a test.

“I’ve never had a runner, but I’m a big fan of it, it’s a time where our sport can be on a global stage which is fantastic.

“I just hope that we don’t change the race so much that racing fans don’t recognise it.”

Of your current stable, which of your horses would you pick to be a future Grand National entry?

“Not sure I have one, to be honest. I’ve got some really lovely horses who will go chasing in the future, but there’s nothing that screams Grand National to me at the moment.”

Would you like to win a Grand National in the future, or are there other races you would prefer to win first?

“There’s certainly other races I would rather win first, but would I want to win a Grand National in the future? Of course, I would love to!

“I think it shows our sport off on a worldwide stage, which is fabulous.

“I wouldn’t mind winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup first, though!”

Following prize money cuts announced for the rest of the season - what is your reaction?

“It’s a sign of the times, people have to be realistic. It’s not ideal, of course, but at the same time, what can we do?

“Attendances were down at Cheltenham, that’s a huge part of their income.

“Less people this year have gone racing because of the cost of living and probably lots of other reasons as well. What can we do? Absolutely nothing.

“If you look at sales, lots of people are still wanting to invest heavily in the sport and as long as you have good owners wanting to come in, then everything is going to be okay.”



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