Beaumont and Pryde hoping for National encore with Maggio

Sat 1 Apr 2017

Four years on from the shock Grand National victory of Auroras Encore, owners Jim Beaumont and Douglas Pryde are looking forward to another tilt at Aintree glory with the Irish-trained Maggio.

Despite being beaten just a head in the previous year's Scottish National, the 11-year-old Auroras Encore lined up on Merseyside as a 66-1 shot following an uninspiring run of form.

However, after travelling strongly in the hands of Pryde's fellow Scot Ryan Mania, the Sue Smith-trained gelding romped clear for an emphatic nine-length success.

It is a day Pryde and Liverpool-born co-owner Beaumont are unlikely to forget in a hurry.

"I remember on the run-up to the race there was a lot of snow around and Harvey (Smith) was having to work hard on the all-weather gallop to make sure they could get the work into him," said Pryde.

"I have a picture of the horse standing in the snow and I remember Harvey telling me before the race that the horse was working so well, better than he'd worked in well over a year.

"So there was quite a bit of optimism going into the National, despite his price."

Beaumont said: "I started going to Aintree when I was maybe three years old, which is 79 years ago now!

"I remember the night before Auroras Encore won the National, Sue and Harvey told us the horse was in very good form and the ground would suit him, but he was still 100-1 at that stage.

"I went to a bookies to put a little bet on and rang Douglas to see if he wanted some money on as well, and he did.

"We had a quiet night the night before, but I think I was the first person on the track on the day itself and obviously it was very exciting."

While many owners are too overcome with nerves to even watch their equine stars tackle the world's most famous steeplechase, Pryde coolly recalls the latter stages.

"I'm actually quite a good watcher of a race and I remember he was still going well when they first come into sight from the grandstand," he said.

"Then they jumped the third-last and I knew from there if he jumped the last two he'd win as he stayed so well.

"In the end he won quite decisively and it was an incredible feeling.

"It was just a wonderful day, from the race itself to the press conference afterwards, which was quite fun.

"Even four years on, it's hard to believe it happened.I'm still dining out on it now!"

Beaumont said: "I remember after the race we had to go and do a press conference and it went on so long we ended up getting locked in the racecourse!

"I'm quite well known in Edinburgh and for months afterwards taxi drivers and traffic wardens were coming up to me and throwing their arms around me.

"It's incredible when you think about it and it still goes on four years later."

Pryde, who runs an independent financial services company, decided to buy his first horse with the now-retired Beaumont around 20 years ago after chatting at Aintree.

The 12-year-old Maggio, who is trained in County Dublin by Patrick Griffin and his son, James, won the race before the Grand National 12 months ago and both of his owners feel he is capable of giving a good account of himself in the big race.

Pryde said: " When myself and Jim decided to get a horse together, we thought if we could get a Grand National horse that would be great, but to actually have a winner is something you can only dream of.

"At the end of the day you've got to have a lot of luck in running, you've got to jump and you've got to stay.

"James came to us with Maggio a couple of years ago and said he could be a National horse and that's why we bought him.

"In my own mind I have a bit of a doubt about whether he'll get the trip in the National, but you don't know until you try and I think he must have a reasonable chance.

"He has a good weight on his back and 50-1 might look a good price closer to the event."

Beaumont added: "The horse is qualified this year, which is the main thing.

"Last year he was very impressive on the same day and if he'd got in the National, he might have won it in that form - he was very impressive.

"We're looking forward to going back to Aintree, there'll be a lot of excitement again."

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