Yala Enki wins gruelling National Trial at Haydock
Venetia Williams' eight-year-old, the only runner of the field without an entry for the Aintree spectacular in April, took control of proceedings at the third flight from home, picking up the running from the well-supported Wild West Wind, who travelled well into the contest but quickly tired and was pulled up.
The eight-runner field was quickly depleated; with Silsol unseating his rider in the early stages, before the well-fancied The Dutchman was pulled up after just one circuit having bled from his nose. Three Faces West and Sir Mangan also failed to compelte in a gruelling renewal, in which just three finished.
Blaklion, the ante-post favourite for Aintree, was conceding in excess of 13 lb to the entrie field - 17 lb to Yala Enki - and gave game chase to the winner from three fences out. However, the weight proved too much and Yala Enki eventually scored by 54 lengths.
Clive Hitchings, owner of Yala Enki, said: "He loves that ground, I couldn't believe he fell at the first last week as he's never fallen in his life before.
"Venetia was keen to come here. We've been saying that he needed a longer trip, but we weren't sure as he can get excited at the start.
"He was able to go steadier today on his own terms, without the throttle out. He loves this ground."
Blaklion drifted out to 12/1 for this year's Grand National as a consequence, with Total Recall replacing him as the 10/1 favourite. The Last Samuri, Cause Of Causes and Definitly Red are next in the market at 20/1.
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