Venetia Williams excited about Katenko's chances in Cheltenham Gold Cup

TRAINER Venetia Williams is ‘hugely excited’ about Katenko’s chances in this year’s John Smith’s Grand National.

Williams, from Kings Caple, says she plan to run the seven-year-old in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15.

Williams won the 2009 Grand National with 100-1 outsider Mon Mome.

She has a more obvious contender this year in Katenko, one of the favourites to star at Aintree.

“It’s hugely exciting,” said Williams. “I bought him in July at Arqana - he wasn’t very expensive at 30,000 Euros.”

She added: “Part of my sales pitch to Andrews Brooks was that he was qualified to get into the Grand National.

“Now he doesn’t just sneak in at the bottom but is the fifth or sixth highest-rated horse in the field.

“The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the plan for him.

“He’s only a seven-year-old but he’s a big war horse.

“He nearly t-boned Donald McCain’s horse coming down the hill at Cheltenham the other day but he motored on down the hill.”Aidan Coleman will be hoping to ride the charge at Cheltenham.

Katenko, formerly trained in France, has had four runs in Britain, winning the last two.

The first came in early January at Ascot, where he won a big handicap chase impressively by nine lengths.

Three weeks later, at Cheltenham, he powered up the hill to lift another valuable handicap, this time by 12 lengths.

Williams has three entries in this year’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 6.

Williams has also entered Summery Justice and Pentiffic into the showpiece race.

The weights for jump racing’s most famous prize were announced last week, with Katenko at 11 stone 4, Summery Justice, 9st 9 and Pentiffic, 9st 4.

According to Betfred, Katenko is a 25-1 shot, with Summery Justice, 66-1 and Pentiffic, 100-1.

Eighty-three horses have been entered into the National but only 40 will race.

The first scratchings deadline is next Tuesday (February 26) with the second on March 19.

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