The summer is a time for looking back at what happened over the course of last season, and also a time to look forward to how horses may develop. One interesting horse is Baywing, and it would be no surprise to see him develop into a genuine Grand National contender in 2019 with a good campaign under his belt.
When looking for horses who could develop into National contenders, it is always important to look for horses who will not only get the trip, but relish it and improve for it. Anyone who saw the Eider Chase at Newcastle last season will remember seeing Baywing come home very strongly on heavy ground, over a distance of more than four miles. If the Grand National was ran over six miles then he would stay the trip, this horse has a serious engine.
As a nine year old now and a horse that will be ten when the 2019 Grand National is run, this is likely to be the only chance Baywing gets to run in the National during his prime. He deserves to take his chance in the race, and will be trained with it in mind. He won the Eider in good fashion off 140, making his current mark of 149 look like something he could run well off. Another year of strengthening and the marathon trip of the Grand National could make him of interest should he get to Aintree on that kind of mark.
There is one doubt surrounding Baywing and that is the ground that the Grand National will take place on. Historically the National has been run on good to soft ground with the odd exception. Baywing would love nothing more than a real test on soft or heavy ground, which would help him in two ways. The first is that it would turn the race into a huge slog, something that would suit Baywing a lot more than it would suit other horses in the race who lack stamina. The second is that Baywing has always excelled when on soft or heavy ground, so regardless of his stamina he would prefer the race to be run on bad ground.
Should the National come up soft or heavy then of course it would suit a horse like Baywing. He has the stamina to withstand a real test in the race, and his best form has come on soft and heavy ground. Put those two things together and if the conditions are bad on the day of the race, Baywing would certainly enter calculations. Faster ground would harm his chances, but if you want to take a risk on bad ground and back a horse who would relish it then Baywing is certainly a horse that should be considered.
The Nicky Richards trained gelding look set for another successful campaign in 2019 and I am hoping we see him over extreme distances more than we have so far. Should that be the case, a trip to Aintree at the end of the season looks likely, and on bad ground Baywing would definitely enter calculations.