Wetter the better for Needham and Sine Nomine

Cheltenham Hunters’ Chase hero could head for the Scottish Grand National.

Fiona Needham is one trainer who hopes the rain keeps falling ahead of Sine Nomine’s potential Coral Scottish National bid.

An ‘old-fashioned’ winner of the Cheltenham Hunters’ Chase in that Needham is strictly an amateur behind her day job as Catterick’s clerk of the course, the grey’s victory was one of the most popular at the Festival.

The Congratulations Fifi & Sine Nomine Handicap took place at Catterick on Wednesday in homage to her achievement, something she knew nothing about, but while the racing world is counting down to Aintree, Needham, who won the Cheltenham race as a jockey on Last Option as well, has her eyes fixed elsewhere.

“It was 22 years after riding the winner but it was a dream come true – I didn’t think I’d have a horse good enough to run in it again, so to win it was unbelievable,” she told Racing TV.

“I never think I’m going to win, I’m the biggest pessimist, but my boyfriend did back her and when I asked why he said ‘you must be quite confident, as you said we might be placed, which is as good as it ever gets’ – so I suppose you could say I fancied her.

“She always travels well in her races, which is what you need there. She’d run there twice before, the first was first time over fences and the second we thought she might not have got up the hill, but she over-raced a bit.

“My only instructions to John (Dawson) were to save a bit for the hill but he was very cool.

“She’s come out of it very well, she’s very much a confidence mare and knows she’s won. She’s entered for the Scottish National, obviously she’d need to get in, but it keeps raining, which is in our favour, so we’ll see where we go from there.”

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