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Monday 9 December 2013

Aintree thoughts

Went to my local track at Aintree on Saturday to get some clues for the National. It was a pleasant day weather wise, although no winners for me, and managed to meet up with a few friends along the way too.
Bit disappointed with the facilities in that the some of the tote screens were so grubby with dirt it was difficult to see the odds and also the metal stairways coming down from the roof were mossy and slippy and these issues were not isolated. I can only say bad show Aintree and it reminded me of the bad old days of the seventies. Lets hope they put things right for the Grand National as we all know it isn't cheap going to these big meets and we should be getting the best they can offer and not the most economical.
The main event the Becher Chase was dominated by front runners, as so often has been the case here, and it would appear even more so now with the fences being made easier. This allows the front runners to really attack the fences without any fear of falling if they clout one and Hello Bud was able to negotiate a mistake early on at the second that normally would have taken him out of the race.
The first four home had shown a tendency to run prominent previously and comments in the Timeform racecard read as follows :
1st - Chance Du Roy - "races prominently"
2nd - Baby Run - "free going front runner"
3rd - Mr Moonshine - "front runner/races prominently"
4th - Ballybough Gorta - "front runner/races prominently"
As it was Baby Run lead them most of the way with Mr Moonshine in or about 3rd, Chance Du Roy was a bit tapped for toe early but worked his way into about 5th heading out from the stands, there were several out the back who were being rousted along to remain in contention. Ballybough Gorta was about 10th for most of the race and gradually got to 4th coming up the straight, needing to be pushed along constantly to do so.
The winner was well handicapped on his best form and really only had to recapture that to be in with a solid chance which he was able to do. He had previously run in the Grand Sefton in 2012 from 15lb higher and connections were eyeing that up again back in October so it was surprising to see him turn up in this and there is now every chance that he will run in the big one come the spring.
Mr Moonshine for National winning trainer Sue Smith jumped really well and I was quite impressed by him and I think he is an ideal type for the Topham. He ran in the National last year but staying isn't his forte and he was tailed off and pulled up. This year he started by running an encouraging race in the Old Roan Chase off a mark of 140(5lb out of handicap), 133 today, and finished 4th to Conquisto. A repeat of that form in the Topham coupled with his good jumping and prominent running would see him go very close.
Peter Bowen's Ballybough Gorta is only 6 and although he has improved considerably over the last year his trainer believes there is more to come and there's every chance we shall see more of him at this track at which his trainer has had a healthy amount of winners in the past.
It will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts to the race and to those who didn't run well for one reason or another and what effect it will have on the betting for the big one.