Trix is at long odds to turn the scales; AINTREE FOCUS

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The Independent Online
Lurking among the Grand National outsiders is a horse for whom Saturday is the outcome of a plot hatched by his owner seven years ago. Turning Trix will carry the famed black and yellow colours of Mel Davies, who bought him in Ireland in 1990 with the express intention of owning an Aintree contender.

Turning Trix was then a three-year-old. Now he is 10 and the sole National candidate from the top stable of David Nicholson. John Kavanagh rides. It could be that the Tote's 50-1 will prove generous.

Davies is also the owner of Barnbrook Again, magnificent winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase in both 1989 and 1990. ``Barnie'' was yesterday munching grass in his retirement field on a stud farm west of Dublin. It was Barnie's impending retirement that prompted Davies to seek a replacement - one capable of staying a marathon distance.

``He was bought specifically as a Grand National horse,'' Davies said. Certainly his pedigree, by Buckskin out of Merry Run, a Deep Run mare, should ensure stamina is not the main problem. The biggest obstacle is that Turning Trix, along with others, is currently set to be burdened with considerably more weight than their handicap rating - 16lb in his instance. Only if the present top weight, Master Oats, is withdrawn on Thursday will the gelding be given a real chance at the weights.

On the positive side, Davies says his runner hails from a family noted for not reaching their peak until the age of nine or 10. The horse is definitely in form, having won a good race at Newbury last time out. Davies says Turning Trix acts on any going and has backed him for Saturday. ``That 50-1 is an excellent price,'' he insists.

Chris Corrigan