Racing: Double Silk under Aintree restraint

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The Independent Online
FRONT-RUNNING tactics usually used with Double Silk Silk will be replaced with restraint when the champion hunter runs in the Grand National a week tomorrow.

Reg Wilkins, the horse's owner-trainer, said yesterday that he would tell jockey Ron Treloggen to adopt a new approach at Aintree. 'I wouldn't want Double Silk to try to make all in the National. I'd be quite happy for him to hold a prominent pitch just behind the leaders,' Wilkins said.

'He does usually likely to force the pace but I wouldn't think it would bother him being alongside other horses. As long as he doesn't get bumped and put off his stride, jumping the fences won't be a problem.'

Double Silk, 7-1 with most major bookmakers, has lost his position at the head of the market to The Fellow who is now generally the 6-1 favourite.

'The Fellow is going to be difficult to beat but there's plenty of other good horses to worry about as well,' Wilkins added. 'It's very difficult to compare Double Silk with the other horses but his time was only three seconds slower than The Fellow at Cheltenham. He will also think he's on holiday only having to carry a light weight.'

Double Silk is in prime condition as Wilkins puts the finishing touches to his Aintree preparation. The 10-year-old worked on Kevin Bishop's all-weather gallop this morning as the area around Wilkins' farm, near Bath, was too wet.

'There's been no problems at all in his build up to the race,' said the trainer. 'He's a lazy horse at home but we've got him right now - he's in very good nick.'

Officials at Aintree yesterday reported the going as good to soft on the National course. If it stays that way, a likely absentee from the big race is an outsider, Ushers Island, a spokesman for trainer Howard Johnson said last night.