TRAINER’S GRAND NATIONAL DREAM
HE’S getting on a bit, he’s got metal in a back leg and he used to be a “crotchety mover”.
Yet South Wales trained Buywise could prove one of the surprise entries to today’s Grand National at Aintree, according to his trainer Evan Williams.
The 11-year-old is in the form of his life and has spent the last four months at his Vale of Glamorgan training yard preparing for the biggest day in National Hunt racing.
At the time of writing, the bookmakers had owner Hywel Jones’ horse as a 50-1 longshot.
But Llancarfan trainer Williams in the Vale of Glamorgan thinks that you can’t take anything for granted over the two laps of Aintree.
“An old horse like Buywise, he’s got all the answers to every question you ask him anyway. He knows what’s going on before you need to do something with him,” said Williams, who has trained a series of horses that have been placed in the Grand National but has never won it.
“It’s such a race that is full with the unexpected, we expect the unexpected.
“The truth of the matter is you never really travel in hope, you just travel wanting everything to go right really and, as I say, to come back in one piece. I never go there thinking we’ve got a chance of winning.
“We’ve got close, but that might be as close as we ever get.”
Williams became convinced to enter Buywise in the Grand National after he won a major handicap race in Sandown in January.
“When he won that race, the lad who rode him that day – Leighton Aspell – has won two Grand Nationals and he said ‘Ev, you want to run this in the Grand National.’ I talked to the owner. We said then, ‘Ah come on, we’ll aim for the National.’
“It’s been at the forefront of our minds since January, so it’s been from January till now really.”
When he first got his hands on Buywise, the horse simply wouldn’t jump.
“He must have had a bit of an injury as a young horse,” said Williams.
“I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t jump. The vets couldn’t find anything. What would you do with a human? You’d scan them. We took X-rays and they said that’s what it was.
“In that white back leg he’s got metal pins and plates.
“In a human, they’d take them out. But I was scared to go in and take them out in case we actually did damage to the joint.
“I think over the years, I think it’s all granulated up and got toughened up and hardened up and I just think that he’s learned to cope with it. “He’s moving so much better this year than he ever has. He used to be a very crotchety mover, but he’s as free as a bird now.” And even after all his close finishes, Williams has never given up hope. “The Grand National is such a big thing to me. We’ve been so damn close in the race you just keep trying. Perhaps in my naivety, I keep thinking that I will get there one day. But that’s the dream. “If you haven’t got dreams, you know, what have you got?” Buywise, ridden by Adam Wedge, runs in the Grand National at 5.15pm today.
Trainer Evan Williams with Grand National hopeful Buywise