TRAINER’S GRAND NATIONAL DREAM

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - KATIE SANDS Re­porter katie.sands@waleson­line.co.uk

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.

PIC­TURES: ROB BROWNE

Trainer Evan Wil­liams with Grand National hope­ful Buywise

Buywise

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