‘It’s going to be a mammoth task’ – Emmet Mullins realistic as Noble Yeats bids to claim back-to-back Nationals.
Emmet Mullins, the trainer, believes Noble Yeats faces a “mammoth task” in his attempt to win the Grand National twice. However, he reported that the eight-year-old horse is in excellent form after finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The 167-rated chaser, a general 8-1 shot to repeat last year’s success, will need to carry 11st 11lb to victory to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Roll and Red Rum and win consecutive Grand Nationals.
Noble Yeats became the first seven-year-old to win the Aintree showpiece since 1940 when scoring under Sam Waley-Cohen in April. The surprise 50-1 winner of the race last year while still a novice was Noble Yeats.
After being outpaced for much of the race, Noble Yeats ran well but was beaten 15 lengths by Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup. Mullins stated: He has emerged from the Gold Cup well overall. He appears great. I would have said that I needed to work him this week if he hadn’t run in the Gold Cup, so the National is set for now.
“It’s going to be a mammoth task to carry that weight, but we know he likes the course and stays the trip so that’s two big ticks to have.
“He ran a good race at Cheltenham, he galloped all the way to the line and the National trip looks to be definitely in his favour.”
Corbetts Cross, Mullins’ promising novice hurdler, may have finished the season. The JP McManus-possessed six-year-old has won multiple times in a useful season including a Grade 2 at Naas, and was all the while voyaging great in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham when he dodged right and ran out at the last obstacle.
Mullins said: “It was just one of those things at Cheltenham and we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m not sure we’ll we see him again this season. I ran him at Naas not knowing whether we would be going to Cheltenham or not, but we decided to head there and it nearly paid off. We are in a different position now so we’ll have to gather our thoughts and reassess.”
Another one of the trainer’s runners, Filey Bay, put on a good show at Prestbury Park. He finished third in the County Hurdle despite making a few mistakes when jumping.
Mullins said: “Filey Bay ran a stormer in the County when his jumping just let him down in the middle part of the race. He’s creeping up the handicap all the time without getting his head in front, which is a bit frustrating.”