Grand National Trial: In a Haydock thriller, Harry Bannister and Quick Wave edge out Snow Leopardess.
In a thrilling finish to the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock, Quick Wave beat Snow Leopardess to give Harry Bannister a welcome return to big race success after an injury-plagued season.
Bannister, who suffered a hip dislocation in the fall, arrived on Quick View after longtime leaders Cloudy Glen and Snow Leopardess went to three out.
Before Cloudy Glen finally gave in, any of the three horses could have won the last jump, but Quick Wave won at 18-1 to give trainer Venetia Williams her third win in the race, and Bannister won for the second time in four years.
Quick Wave, an impressive December winner at Sandown, came to this race after a disappointing Welsh National. Paddy Power offered Quick Wave a quote of 33-1 from 50 for the Randox Grand National, while Coral offered a more optimistic 25-1 for Aintree.
“I can’t take too much credit as she’s a lovely filly and credit to Venetia and the team who had her spot on today,” said Bannister. “She’s an exceptionally good trainer and I’m just so thankful for her faith to put me back on this mare.
“I probably ended up a bit closer to the inner than I’d have liked, but we saved ground where we could and she’s travelled strongly and stayed well. She’s the ideal mare for a race like this.”
Bannister added: “It means a lot to get this first winner back, it’s been a long road and there’s a lot of people to thank.”
Prior to this victory, Quick Wave had a rating of 148, which would have allowed her to compete in all five of the most recent Grand Nationals. On Tuesday, when BHA senior handicapper Martin Greenwood releases the weights, she is likely to receive an additional couple of pounds.
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Harry Bannister, who has been out since October after dislocating a hip in a bad fall, is planning to be back riding within weeks. In the coming days, he will sit on a horse for the first time since the injury and he believes that he will be back racing come the end of January.
Harry had his best season of winners and prize-money last season and he had been itching to build on it this winter. However, his fall from Godrevy Point in a handicap chase at Stratford was a blow to those ambitions, meaning the frustration of months away from the track.
Fortunately, after multiple surgeries were a success, he can now look forward to returning sooner rather than later.
Bannister said, “We’re pretty much there. I’ve got a scan in two weeks and if that goes well, I won’t be far off.
“I’m hopefully going to ride out in the next week or so. The doctors and those involved have said the recovery has gone smoothly. By the sounds of it they did a very good job with the initial two surgeries, so that’s helped.”
“I’m close to Lambourn and there’s a hydrotherapy pool and gym at Oaksey, and Rob [Treviss] and Anna [Fisher] have been brilliant,” he added. “Jerry Hill has been influential in where we go with it all and how much we do, but I think it’s all gone pretty well.”
“There are things you can’t be certain about and things could go either way, but, from what everyone says, we’ve gone the right side of it, so hopefully I can put it behind me and go again.”
“No time to be injured is good, but November and December are two of the busiest months, so it was quite tough to miss, although being at Oaksey has helped the sanity. I’ve been able to keep busy and keep my mind on something, but it was unfortunate I wasn’t able to build on last season.”
We are wishing Harry Bannister well, and hopefully he can soon add to his handful of graded victories in the near future.
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