By Andrew Atkinson
FERGAL O’Brien saddles Petite Power in the Martsons 61Deep Class 1 Midlands Grand National over 4 miles 2 furlongs at Uttoxeter on Saturday.
Eleven-year-old Petite Power, ridden by Liam Harrison, is priced at (10-1) and tipped each-way in the 15 runners’ field.
Petite Power, who ran third of 13 at Warwick in a Class 1 race at Warwick over 3m 5f in January, behind Kimberlite Candy, carries 9st 7lb, under 7lb claimer Harrison, in contrast to top weight (11st 12lb) De Rasher Counter, trained by Emma Lavelle, under 3lb claimer Ben Jones.
Petite Power won at Cheltenham in 2019 – after a 516-day absence and O’Brien said: “It was lovely for him to come back. He won first time out for us a few years ago, missing through a back injury.
“The owners have been so patient, anyone else could have given up on him.”
O’Brien, who saddled the first grade one win of his career, when Poetic Rhythm won the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury in 2017, said: “I have always felt very privileged to do this job, training horses for nice people.”
O’Brien, who moved to Ravenswell Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, set in 550 acres in Gloucestershire last year, said: “I have some fantastic owners, and I never have to chase a bill – good people – that means a lot.”
O’Brien, who vacated the Upper Yard at Grange Hill Farm, rented from Cathy Twiston-Davies, a former assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies, said: “I’m just a cog in a big wheel – that’s the way it has always been.”
On Ravenswell Farm, O’Brien said: “It’s a lovely place to train, it has a great feel to it. You only have to stand out here and see the view.
“It all feels really good here – I’m hoping it will continue that way.”
Joe Farrell (12-1) ridden by Byrony Frost and Christmas In April (5-1) trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Richard Johnson, are also selected each-way in the Midlands National.