As with any race that is scheduled to take place so far in the future, speculation about entries or possible runners is always a tricky business. Despite nearly every bookmaker offering ante-post odds on the Randox Health Grand National 2022, the reality is that only a few of them will actually get an entry. Even fewer again will actually run in the race.
So much happens in the downtime between the Nationals, that predictions are not only foolhardy but almost impossible. However, it is always worth taking a closer look at some of the potential runners, particularly if their connections have been touting a spin over the famous fences.
This is the case and point with Happygolucky, the charge of trainer Kim Bailey. Young at just 7-years-old, the bay gelding has only had five chase runs for his yard but boy oh boy if he hasn’t already defied expectations.
Runs To Date
Like all young horses, Happygolucky started out with a point-to-point in November 2018. Second in that race, he was given a nice break before returning in October 2019 for a Maiden Hurdle which he duly won.
The November festival at Cheltenham beckoned a month later as did a third-place finish behind THyme Hill and Champagne Well in a Grade 2 novice hurdle. Likewise, another third place at Sandown over hurdles in December.
A winter break and it was full steam ahead for the Cheltenham Festival in 2020 when Happygolucky was fourth in the Martin Pipe Conditional.
🗣 "He's a cracking little horse."
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 10, 2021
So a decent but not a spectacular hurdler. As such it was time to go chasing.
First up was Stratford in October 2020 and with it came the first win over fences. In quick succession came Fakenham (2nd place) and Cheltenham in December 2020 where another chase win (novice) was on the cards.
As each month progressed so to did the distances and quality of races Happygolucky was entered into. By March 2021 he was back at Cheltenham running up a storm. Another solid run in the Ultima Handicap Chase saw another second-place finish behind Vintage Clouds.
And then it was on to the Aintree Festival in April 2021. The Betway Handicap Chase is a massive race and Happygolucky went off as the favourite under jockey David Bass. The duo was rewarded with yet another win leaving trainer Kim Bailey dreaming of another Grand National win.
The Future For Happygolucky
Bailey said after the race: “For a novice to come here and jump like that was quite something.
“He’s a proper little horse and he was my main fancy at Cheltenham.
“He did nothing wrong there, and he’s backed it up here, which was really good.
“Next season I think he’ll end up here in the National.
“He’s such a good jumper and such a professional.
“He’d jump those fences for fun, so see you here next year!”
On his blog, Bailey said: “Happygolucky. What a great name for a racehorse?
“He was majestic when winning at Aintree for Michael and Mary Dulverton.
“Happy really jumped and raced like a true pro and to think it was only his 5th start over fences. 12121.”
So will see Happy at Aintree next season? A lot will depend on the handicapper, as it always does. The win at Aintree bumped his mark up to 157. Based on the weights issued this year, that would see him go off on 11 stone. Not exactly ideal however, it is less than any weight he has run off so far in his chasing career.
A lot will hinge on the upcoming season but we should see Happy back out and running around October. So watch this space…
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