WHILE the Cheltenham Festival is unquestionably the centre of attention for the racing world this week, one trainer is striving to land the biggest success of his career elsewhere.

Paul Henderson is running Crossley Tender in the marathon Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on Saturday for which he is best priced at 10/1.

Ironically the eight-year-old, who is set to carry 10st 2lbs, was poised to make Henderson headline news in the Eider Chase at Newcastle last month.

Superbly ridden by Tom O'Brien, he was never better than mid-division for the most of the £43,000 handicap and making stealthy headway was smuggled into a challenging position in the straight.

Taking advantage of Sam's Adventure mistake at the last, he led on the run in but Sam's Adventure, who had been idling in front, renewed his effort to win by three quarters of a length.

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson

But the race did prove that Crossley Tender got the four-mile plus trip and the Whitsbury trainer is confident of a bold showing.

"He's fine as he has been all season," Henderson said discussing the race which carries £67,000 in prize money. "The course is very similar to Newcastle in being flat and though it's soft at the moment, it should be good to soft on Saturday which is ideal for him. I am certainly looking forward to it and I think he will run a solid race."

The yard's longstanding standard bearer Doitforthevillage is being primed for a two and a half mile series final at Haydock next month, having qualified by winning a decent handicap at Sandown.

Henderson was anxious to preserve his mark for the valuable chase and accordingly sent the 12-year-old hurdling at the Surrey track last Friday where he finished fourth.

"The problem is that he gets very buzzy at home and I had to give a run somewhere with the race at Haydock three weeks away."

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