Emma Lovell is enjoying the national challenge with de Rasha’s counter

Emma Lovell hopes De Rasha’s counter will enjoy the Randox Grand National Challenge when she tackles the entry feature on Saturday.

The 10-year-old won the Ladbrooks Trophy in 2019 but was limited to just one hurdle starting in the last term after suffering a tendon injury, finally returning to Newbury 489 days later in February.

De Rasha finished fourth on the Denman Chase at the Berkshire venue, and Lavel believes it was the perfect warm-up before achieving his long-term goal with the Grand National Start.

He says: “She’s great, absolutely super. She had a great preparation and she was away and had a nice run and we went to school with her away from home so we couldn’t be happier.

“He had a tendon injury and the funny thing is National always had a race that we thought would be right for him and that means we can give him a lot of time to recover from the tendon injury and we did a lot of road work at the beginning of the year.

“Adam Weiss took him up and down the hill to his home in Wales and then he came back to us. Denman Chase was the perfect preparatory race for him and it deservedly matched. It got him back and gave us a nice time hoping to get him a place for Aintree later.

“It was a beautiful field in Newbury and it was our Gold Cup horses racing against each other. De Rasha’s counter traveled with them and jumped great and was behind the second last when he hit something. It was great and then Tom (Bellamy) his. He took care of it later. He finished fourth and we are happy with him.

“He is in the same mark as when he won the Ladbrooks Trophy with 149. Every horse has to be taken for a ride and run to get some luck, but we will be very happy with the way everything is done. The point is he has a really good chance.

Level’s classic chase winner Eclair Surf also entered, giving his form another boost on Saturday when Win My Wings, who had beaten him just under two lengths in the Eder Chase, bolted up at the Scottish National.

Eclair Surf is currently ranked 47th in weight and Lovell knows he will need a huge chunk of his fortune to cut for the 40-runner entry highlight.

He added: “He is eight years old so there is no doubt that he has time for the Grand National. Although it shows you how difficult it is to run in a race, because its rating is 143.

“With that in mind, you think if we enter we’ll take our chances and if we don’t we hope next year we’ll have a crack.”

Harry Cobden’s intended national Mount Highland Hunter dropped Paul Nichols last week, leaving him to team up with Colin Tizard-trained LastinTranslation.

The 10-year-old won a Grade One betfair chase in 2019 before finishing close-up third at the Cheltenham Gold Cup next spring, but failed to shine in the final and after returning to Ascot in November, he apparently lost his way again.

Cobden was impressed with a recent schooling session on national-style fences earlier this week and hopes that LostinTranslation can restore something like its best form to Mercury.

He said: “It’s a shame that Highland Hunter got hurt because I thought he had a good chance. She stays and jumps well and I thought she had a nice weight too.

“LostinTranslation had some problems in the past, but if you look back, he’s often got better after the season. He’s won a grade at Aintree before as a newbie chaser and I think he’s more of a spring horse.

“She’s in high school in her day and there are a lot of other people out there.

“I thought he ran for the last time at Cheltenham (eighth in the Ultima Handicap Chase). He probably didn’t run quite well in his best run but he had a lot of weight in that run. Joe (Tizard, boy and assistant trainer) seems to have improved since then so the fingers crossed.

“We went to David Pipe on Wednesday and gave him a small school on the entry-style fence. He jumped nicely which was ideal so I’m waiting for it now. “

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