Trainer Robert Walford’s fantastic Aintree performer Walk In The Mill bids to land a famous win on Saturday by taking the Becher Chase at 1.30pm for a third year running. The brilliant ten-year-old enjoyed a pipe-opener at Ascot at the end of October, which would have blown away any summer cobwebs and we caught up with Mr Walford ahead of his big test at the weekend.
More weight now, but he’s in top form
“I see it is a slightly smaller field this year, but there are still too many in there,” Walford laughed.
“Look, he’s got more weight than the last two years, but he’s in good form you know. We’ll see, I’m hopeful he’ll run well but there might be something lower down the weights to trouble him, as weight does count over these longer distances.”
“I just needed to get a run into him at Ascot. He’s come out of the race really well, he’s always had issues with his feet but he’s fine and we are very happy with him. "
It would be special to complete the three-timer
“It would be really special to win the third Becher Chase with Walk In The Mill. I used to love watching horses like State Of Play for Evan Williams and wished I could have one like him, who turn up time and time again and love the National fences. There is something special about it.”
“Can he win a third Becher Chase? I don’t know. We’ve done all we can at home and we’re very happy with him, so I suppose we can’t ask for more than that.”
Soft ground key to Grand National chances
“With the weather the way it was after the first lockdown came into play earlier in the year, it would have been too dry for him [in the Grand National back in April]. We had such a dry time around then and I wouldn’t have expected much from him on that ground.”
“An upside is we have a fresh horse who didn’t have to run in the race, but it will be the same for everyone else too so it doesn’t make that much difference!”
“I do think he is a horse that can run well in a soft ground Grand National. Whether he can win one I’m not sure, but I certainly think he’s good enough to be in the first four again. The trouble is he doesn’t show anything at home - he’s very lazy - so we never really know how good he’s going to be until he gets there.”
Walk In The Mill may be lazy at home, but when he sees the famous Aintree National fences, it brings this wonderful talent alive. We wish Walk In The Mill, James Best, Mr Walford and all connected with the horse the very best of luck ahead of Saturday and the season ahead.