Venetia Williams on weather watch for Grand National hope Royale Pagaille

Venetia Williams will be keeping an eye on the weather before deciding whether or not Royale Pagaille will compete in the Randox Grand National.

Owned by Rich Ricci, the nine-year-old had chased home the Bravemansgame in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day in Kempton and was then held back for a crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

However, the mud-loving gelding didn’t get the ground connections he had hoped for and finished sixth behind Galopin Des Champs.

Williams became only the second woman, after Jenny Pitman, to coach a Grand National winner following Mon Mome’s shock 100/1 win in 2009. She has Royale Pagaille and both Haydock’s National Trials winners and thirds, Quick Wave and Cloudy Glen in return for the Aintree Spectacular on 15th.

The Kings Caple-based handler is now awaiting the weather forecasts before making decisions, particularly where Royale Pagaille will run next, considering both the Grand National and the Irish edition of the race – where he would shoulder the top weight to be pulled .

She said: “They are all fine. Royale Pagaille did well.

“A week earlier I thought he was going to get the soil he wanted with all the rain that was promised but it didn’t really come.

“But he still drove a great race. He will have another run. He’s in both the Irish and English Nationals and there’s no decision yet on where he’ll go. Likewise, we’ll see how everyone else is doing before we make any plans.”

Williams achieved Grade One fame with L’Homme Presse at the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and Chambard won the Kim Muir at last year’s festival, while Funambule Silvola was a gallant second at the Champion Chase and Pink Legend was second at the Mare Hunt.

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Following that has always been a huge challenge, and she didn’t have the same luck at the National Hunt highlight this time.

Reflecting on the meeting, she said: “We had such an amazing Cheltenham last year that we rode everything this year which led to what was probably a little bit more gung-ho than we should have been.

“We still had some good runs. Pink Legend finished third in the Mares’ Chase and that was a fantastic run in a much deeper race than last year. She reversed the placings with the horse she beat last year (Elimay).

“Green Book was fourth in the Pertemps, beaten by just three lengths, and Royale Pagaille made us very happy.

“Funambule Sivola was fine after his crash in the Champion Chase. That was a real disappointment as I thought he had a really good chance of running for a place again.

“He was such a brilliant jumper that it surprised him like everyone else. But he’s fine.”

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