The Grand National fences will be warmed up ahead of this weekend’s main event at Aintree on Friday, with the John Smith’s Topham Chase on the tasty Channel 4 racing menu for Friday.
Chance du Roy appeared to be going as well as anything else tipping up at the fifth-last in the C&D Grand Sefton in December, a race eventually won by the re-opposing Little Josh.
No need to worry if your horse wins at a bigger price than you took!
That duo have not covered themselves in glory subsequently, but both are likely to be galvanised by the return to this unique course and neither can be discounted in what looks a wide-open race.
However, they’ve both got plenty of weight to carry and there are some intriguing contenders lurking toward the foot of the handicap, not least JAMSIE HALL.
The 10-year-old usually comes to hand during the spring and appears to have been primed for a tilt at this valuable contest by his bang in-form trainer Gordon Elliott.
Looking at the Grand National odds following the final declarations on Thursday, it looks as though Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy’s mounts, On His Own and Colbert Station respectively, will be vying for favouritism on Saturday.
Walsh will be aboard There’s No Panic in the Topham and presumably he chose the eight-year-old ahead of Paul Nicholls’ other three runners, but the gelding will need to raise his game to take this.
No doubt who the star of the show will be on Friday, with SPRINTER SACRE stepping up to two-and-a-half miles in the John Smith’s Melling Chase. It’s likely to be run at a furious pace, so the Champion Chase hero will be tested stamina-wise.
I would love to oppose him on account of his price, and Cue Card and Flemenstar are worthy opponents. But Nicky Henderson’s equine machine was so impressive at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and I would be majorly surprised if the step up in trip inconveniences him.
While I’m not brave enough to oppose the Sprinter, I’m once again keen to take on My Tent Or Yours who is likely to be a red-hot favourite in the opening race on the card.
He lost no caste in defeat when runner-up to Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novices’, but there will be greater emphasis on speed this time and stablemate FORGOTTEN VOICE, an impressive winner at Kempton last time, may have too much toe for him, particularly if the ground continues to dry out.
In the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase, Dynaste will be seeking to atone for his reverse in the Jewson at the Cheltenham Festival, while Rocky Creek, who represents last year’s winning stable, is out to enhance his already tall reputation.
Many will concentrate on that duo, but VINO GRIEGO is very much on the up and ran a blinder when chasing home Carrickboy in the Byrne Group Plate at the Festival.
Gary Moore’s charge will need a career-best if he’s to land this Grade 2 event, but I reckon he could be equal to the task.
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2.00 Forgotten Voice
2.30 Vino Griego
3.05 Sprinter Sacre
3.40 Jamsie Hall
4.15 At Fishers Cross