Hemmings Pins Hopes On Vicente

It's not uncommon to see some Grand National runners change hands very late in the game with some finding themselves with new owners merely days ahead of the annual showdown at Aintree.

This year it's the turn of the Paul Nicholls trained Vicente who has been purchased by three time Grand National winning owner Trevor Hemmings, who sadly lost his beloved Many Clouds in January.

Winner of the 2016 Scottish National, Vicente, who had previously been owned by John Hale and Ian Fogg, has not had the greatest of seasons so far but Hemmings reportedly liked the look of him and considered him more than suitable for the Aintree National.

Trainer Nicholls said “He has been an owner of mine for a while and having sadly lost his National winner Many Clouds in January he was looking for a suitable horse for the race.

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“Vicente was for sale, a deal was done and he will now go straight to the National. I’ve trained a number of winners for Trevor, who is an an enthusiastic owner, loves the race and enjoys having a runner in it every year.

“He liked the profile of Vicente, who won the Scottish Grand National last season, and is at his best in the spring.”

Hemmings, who also owns Preston North End F.C., Trust Inns and also over 100 racehorses, has previously won the Grand National with Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Many Clouds in 2015.

Should Vicente triumph at Aintree, then Hemmings would make National history by becoming the first person to own four winners of the big race. He currently shares that honour of winning three Nationals with three other owners, most notably Noel Le Mare, who had Red Rum.

Hemmings though is much more than an owner and breeder of racehorses. He is a businessman, philanthropist, friend of the royals and all-round lovely guy. He started his first business with £12 and is now one of the wealthiest men in Britain.

When interviewed by the Radio Times last year, Hemmings said of his love for horses “I like to see them growing up.

“I’m not one for buying a £500,000 racehorse because it might win me a race next week.

“Look at Ballabriggs…I had him all the way from a little fella. What’s nicer than that?”

And while he may not have had the opportunity to raise Vicente from a young age, he still has a decent shot of making history next month when he attempts his fourth Grand National win.

Vicente is currently around 33/1 ante post with bookmakers to claim the title on Saturday April 8th.

Picture by: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images