There are 4 meetings today – 2 on the All-Weather at Kempton and Lingfield, and 2 on the turf at Beverley and Nottingham – and all are on the “flat”. It is the day before Aintree and (quite naturally) there is a break in the jump racing calendar so that no injuries may occur to jockeys on the eve of the most dramatic race meeting of the year.
There was no return from the blog selection yesterday, VAMIZI. Despite starting the fav for the race, I was a bit disappointed that his odds weren’t shorter considering that there had been several withdrawals as – in my opinion - the going was firmer than the reported “good”. That probably prevented connections “lumping on”, and from the off VAMIZI did not look happy, making errors and having to be driven along. His only win came on soft going at Exeter, and I would expect him to be put away now till the autumn. Eventual winner of the race Drybrook Bedouin could be called the winner a long way out as he was staying on best of all, and as he was only 2lbs better-off for a 7-length beating by VAMIZI when they last met, the fact he won this so easily suggests that had the ground had a bit more “juice” in it, the VAMIZI would have taken a lot of beating. As such, VAMIZI looks to be on a good mark of OR118, and he’s in the notebook for next season.
With there being no jump racing today, there is no selection. Even so, it always pays to watch as much racing as possible at this time of the year as you can latch onto well-handicapped horses, especially amongst the 3yo’s having their handicap debuts over what is probably their optimum trips (having been raced over shorter trips as 2yo’s).
At Exeter yesterday, trainer Charlie Longsdon had a double from his two runners, and that means he’s won 5 races with his 9 runners this month – and yesterday was only the 5th April. He has several multiple entries over the next few days and it will be worth noting the following when they run: Ostland (2 entries); Hazy Tom (3); Paintball (2); Hayjack (3); and The Gurner (2).
Looking at the Aintree meeting as a whole, I’m looking forward to the following:-
• Grand Crus being asked to “go for it” from the off and making it a true test of speed and stamina in the Liverpool Hurdle which opens the meeting on Thursday.
• Medermit making it 8 wins from 14 starts when not racing at Cheltenham.
• Voy Por Ustedes taking the Melling Chase.
• Free World scooting home in the Topham Chase at 40/1 (I can dream, can’t I?).
• Ghizao showing his true form in the Maghull Novices chase on Saturday.
• Peddlers Cross proving he is a true champion in the Aintree Hurdle.
• Lastly, that the Grand National is a true classic of a race.
New of the National, and yesterday I said that “unless there is a downpour of biblical proportions in the next few days, the going will almost certainly be "good" on Saturday”, and it could be that today that may happen! There has been more overnight rain and the going is good-to-soft over the entire course now. Worse is that a major rainstorm is forecast over South-West Scotland (up to 100mm of rain may fall) and should that storm veer south then we could be on for a wet and muddy Grand National on Saturday. If that is the case, then we could be looking at less than half-a-dozen finishers.
News of my shortlisted horses for the big race, and NORTHERN ALLIANCE has suffered a bruised foot. He will be left in the race till Saturday morning but, if he’s not recovered he won’t run.
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