Nicky Richards reports Takingrisks to be in top shape ahead of the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
Takingrisks, who bids to become the first 12-year-old to win the world’s greatest steeplechase since Amberleigh House in 2004, landed the Scottish National in 2019 and sprang a 40-1 surprise in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster in January.
The trainer’s father, the late Gordon Richards, won the Grand National twice with Lucius in 1978 and Hallo Dandy in 1984. Richards has taken a leaf out of his book by building National-style fences to give Takingrisks an example of what to expect on the big day.
“He’s done everything we’ve wanted the old lad to do. He’s ready and we’re all looking forward to it,” said the Greystoke handler.
“We built three fences. He had a look the other morning and he’s had a proper go at them. We’ve done what my father used to do.”
Richards confirmed Takingrisks’ regular partner Sean Quinlan will be in the saddle at the weekend.
“Sean gets on grand with him and is having a good season,” he added.
“We’ve a good horse in top condition and a confident jockey riding him. He knows the old boy, so let’s see how we get on.”
The ground on all three courses at Aintree was described as good to soft, good in places on Tuesday afternoon, with further watering planned.
Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said: “We have gone good to soft, good in places on all three courses and are watering again today. The Mildmay and Hurdle courses will receive between three and five millimetres of irrigation, while we will put another six millimetres on the Grand National course.
“At the end of today we will come to a decision about what we are going to do tomorrow. I am sure we will be doing some watering again tomorrow as we aim to begin the Randox Grand National Festival with good to soft ground on Thursday.
“I am very pleased with how Aintree is looking. There is fantastic grass cover and walking the Grand National course today it feels pretty much like perfect ground.
“There are a few areas where a little more watering is needed to make it good to soft and then we will be all set.”