A day of what might have been?
Well it was perhaps a little galling to see Clondaw Kaempfer lead on the run to the last but then make an alrighty blooper, costing him all chance, but, ultimately The Worlds End made sure that it wasn’t the worst of days, all things considered. Kylemore Lough perhaps needed the ground a shade softer and I’m not convinced Mr Diablo loved the experience of the Topham.
I must admit, after a day in the sun, I feel very much drained writing this and I hope that you will not mind too much if this column retains the abridged format that Aintree has been written in so far.
To be honest, there’s so much information floating around at the moment, where the Grand National is concerned at least, you’d almost be just as well off following whatever rationale has served you well in the race in the past, rather than listening to me!
That’s not to say I don’t have views, but there is a fair old element of lottery to the race.
For what it’s worth, I think the two, from a wider list of four, that I’d be happy to put up, are Saphir Du Rheu, and at a much bigger price, Stellar Notion. For those keeping score, or are interested in minutiae, the two to narrowly miss out were More Of That and One For Arthur.
Let me talk you through the logic.
Saphir Du Rheu, has seemed, through the prism of hindsight, to have been crying out for a longer trip for a long while and,his form this season is better than he has been given credit for. Chiefly in this regard I refer to his run behind Foxtail Hill, for which there has been some criticism – the perception being that class wise, he should have won – but completely disregarding the fact that it was over a woefully inadequate trip – two and a half miles – in a race that had an unusual shape anyway because of the tactics employed on the winner. He did what he should have done, and was entitled to do, at Kelso and ran a great race in the Gold Cup, of which more below.
People have been too quick to denigrate him as disappointing – an idea heightened when he was defeated by Antony on his seasonal reappearance – because there was a perception that he’d be a Gold Cup winner – saying nothing of the fact that his performance in coming fifth leaves him theoretically six pounds well in – but let’s not forget he’s been well fancied for consecutive runnings of the Hennessy and he’s run well at on good ground at Aintree – on the Mildmay course admittedly – before. If he takes to the fences, he could be a real danger.
Stellar Notion is much more of a shot in the dark, but he’s a very big price for a horse who was beaten seven lengths in a handicap by Tiger Roll, who has proven stamina and has gone up a stone in the weights and about the same by Noble Endeavour, who was placed in the Ultima off a mark eleven pounds higher than his Irish mark, and who has arguably been better suited by the weight compression here than he would’ve been running at the festival. It’s also interesting that in the years 2007 – 2016 Henry De Bromhead has only run Bucker’s Bridge and Home Farm in this race, and clearly doesn’t run horses here for the sake of it. He’s a free going sort and is likely to be prominent – getting him settled holds the key – but in a wider sense, those tactics that are perceived to be well suited to the re-designed fences, and, given he has a stamina influence in his pedigree, being by Presenting, whom has sired multiple Gold Cup winners (Denman, War of Attrition) and an RSA winner (Weapons Amnesty) and is a pretty sound jumper, then why on earth not?
Elsewhere on the card:
- Fountains Windfall could be woefully underestimated by a one pound rise in a weak-ish race at Plumpton, having been very well placed by his trainer in the aftermath of his excellent run in heavy ground at Sundown over this trip. He will very much appreciate the return to good ground (two wins on a sound surface) and I wonder if this has been the plan for a little while. The fact that his trainer is 4 winners from 9 runner in the last 14 days helps too;
- The Mersey is perhaps the best actual race of the week, and Ben Pauling’s Le Breuil, highly thought of at home and hugely unexposed, has become overpriced as a result of Finian’s Oscar becoming a more attractive option now that the form of his trainer has improved. The nagging doubt with the latter is that he looks, and runs, like a chaser and may find this all happening a bit too quick for him. Brio Conti is respected, but I just wonder if Paul Nicholls has gone off the boil at the wrong time, a factor which could also effect Saphir Du Rheu.
1.45 Fountains Windfall – 12/1 Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power
2.25 Le Breuil – 7/1 Hills, BetVictor
5.15 Saphir Du Rheu 22/1- Ladbrokes
5.15 Stellar Notion – 66/1 Coral
With best wishes,