Kim Bailey is experiencing resurgence in his training career. The trainer was responsible for success in the 1990s — including a win in the Grand National and a Gold Cup — before hitting a devastating dry patch.
Then came along The Last Samuri — the horse who would reignite Kim’s career as a trainer.
After finishing runner-up in last year’s Grand National, Kim is heading back to Aintree with ‘Sam’ tomorrow (Saturday, 8 April), hoping to go one better.
We find out a bit more about the Gloucestershire-based handler and his “quirky” stablestar…
1. Most would take finishing second in such a historic race as a huge achievement. However, for Kim, coming second in the Grand National was a like getting a “smack in the face”. He says: “There is only one place to finish at Aintree — otherwise you might as well have pulled up. It was incredibly hard to take.”
2. The Last Samuri (pictured with sheepskin noseband, below) now heads the weights in this year’s race — kicking off at 5.15pm tomorrow — following the withdrawal of top weight Carlingford Lough. He will carry 11st 10Ibs and will be steered over those daunting Aintree fences by jockey David Bass.
3. Kim’s best success to date came in the 1990s — he trained the winner of the 1990 Grand National with Mr Frisk, the 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup with Master Oats and in the same year Alderbrook triumphed in the Champion Hurdle at the Festival.
4. The 63-year-old trainer moved to his current Cotswold base 10 years ago. It is a 1,000-acre farm owned by the Vestey family.
5. “Bailey’s blog” is Kim’s popular daily blog that attracts 4,000 readers and covers sometimes controversial topics.
“I realised that one thing that could keep me in the public eye was to write something that annoyed somebody, without being rude, and got people talking,” he tells H&H.
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6. Kim worked in Sydney as a 19-year-old before coming home to pursue his dream of being a racehorse trainer and, of course, train a Grand National winner — could he make it two National accolades in the space of 27 years tomorrow?