“Not many horses win the race twice and it would be nice if Pineau De Re could be the first since Red Rum to do it,” Dr. Newland, former GP and Grand National-winning trainer told the Daily Star. “That was nearly 30 years ago, so the odds are against us, but he is in the right place and we are happy with him.”
Pineau De Re will next compete in the Pertemps Qualifier race, although he’s already being hotly tipped for 2015’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Indeed, Cheltenham Zone places him as one of the favorites for next year’s race, after last month, Pineau De Re placed third, and Newland and jockey Daryl Jacob had to explain why it was a lackluster performance.
“[Pineau De Re] got very tired and I was very glad Daryl did not knock him about. We try to win every race we can. I was a bit surprised to be called before the stewards. They were doing their job and it was certainly not a question of the horse not trying. We were trying,” Newland told the Guardian.
Pineau De Re will be racing off of his current mark of 151 for the Grand Nationals. It is 8 pounds higher than last spring’s rating.
“Realistically he has little chance of winning a three-mile chase off a mark earned in a four-and-a-half-mile chase with 30 fences. He would be outpaced,” Newland said. “So we will continue to race him over hurdles off his 8lb lower mark, as we did at Cheltenham last month. He will run in the Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier at Carlisle on December 14 that he was second in 12 months ago, and that should bring him on.”
Newland, who has 26 winners this season already from his 12-box stable, believes that Pineau De Re has a real shot at the 2015 Grand Nationals.
“I see him as a genuine candidate,” he said. “I know it won’t be easy. There’s no bigger fan of Red Rum than me, but the race was not as competitive then as it is now when you get 40 horses in the Handicap.”