2:00 International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices’ Hurdle
Seven of the last 15 winners posted a top-six finish in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the last two, Darlan and My Tent Or Yours, gaining compensation here for Nicky Henderson after finding just one too good in the traditional Cheltenham Festival curtain raiser. No surprise therefore that Henderson also runs this season’s Supreme runner-up, Josses Hill, here (he has also won three of the last four runnings) and the Supreme is also represented by the strong-finishing fourth, Sgt Reckless, who was a three-lengths detached last at one point. In addition to Darlan and My Tent Or Yours, another two J P McManus-owned Supreme runners-up have also found consolation here as Joe Mac and Straw Bear went one place better at Aintree than Cheltenham. The other guide to be of interest this year is the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle run at Kempton in late February won by Irving though it wouldn’t be a hugely strong guide. The winner doesn’t run here but the runner-up, Amore Alato, takes his chance. Two Dovecote winners won this race in the 1990s and last season’s winner was second.
Whereas ex-bumper horses have won the last eight runnings of the Supreme Novices Hurdle, seven of the last 11 Top Novices’ hurdle winners started their career on the Flat so speed horses have been well on top. That said, the last two winners were ex-bumper horses but they were also exceptionally-speedy, class acts in Darlan and My Tent Or Yours. The only two Ex-Flat contenders this season are Mijhaar and King Of The Picts.
It is refreshing to see three Irish raiders this season. Successful just twice in 38 runnings, with Grade 1 novice hurdles just around the corner at the Punchestown Festival their best novices are held back for those but Dessie Hughes has sent over Art Of Payroll (bolted up at Leopardstown in a handicap last time out), Charlie Swan runs The Game Changer (second in a Listed novice hurdle last time) in the Gigginstown silks and John Shanahan lets King Of The Picts (placed when well beaten in two Grade 1s) take his chance. Only 2lb separates the trio on official ratings.
Of the last 17 winners all but four had won or finished second on their last hurdles start so King of The Picts has it to do on that score. So does Sgt Reckless having finished fourth in the Supreme but Supreme runners should be considered irrespective of whether they finished in the first two or not as three of the four that didn’t had run with credit in finishing between fourth and sixth in the Supreme (the other exited at the first flight).
The front four in the market have won 18 of the last 23 runnings and no winner has made all for 17 years. Unsurprisingly, My Tent Or Yours outclassed his rivals at the age of six last year but eight of the previous ten winners were five-year-olds from just under 50% representation over that period. Five-year-olds in action this season are Amore Alato, Art Of Payroll, Baltimore Rock (won the Imperial Cup), Irish Cavalier (winner of three of his four novice hurdles at a much lower level), King Of The Picts and The Game Changer.
Not a strong trends race but given that Nicky Henderson has won three of the last four runnings, two of which with the Supreme runner-up, then Josses Hill has to be the main trends pick as well as the form pick in his bid to become the fifth Supreme runner-up to gain consolation here since 1999. Although this has been a race in which ex-Flat horses have done very well, the last two Henderson-trained winners were ex-bumper horses as is Josses Hill.
Given the excellent record of five-year-olds and horses to the fore in the market, then the Imperial Cup winner, Baltimore Rock, appeals as the main danger. He quickened up well on bad ground to win at Sandown so may be more value than the winning margin indicated that day. Mijhaar gets the final shortlist berth as this has been a good race for ex-Flat horses and he is just one of two of those in the race alongside the Irish raider, King Of The Picts, but this hasn’t been a great race for the Irish down the years. Rated as high as 109 at his peak on the level, he made a successful hurdling debut on Good ground before falling on his only other start on very heavy ground so this surface should be far more to his liking.
2:30 Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices’ Chase
First run in 1981, this year’s running of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase will be its first as a Grade 1 event and chances can be argued for all six runners headed by the RSA winner O’Faolain’s Boy who is bidding to become the third horse to complete the RSA-Mildmay double after Monsieur Le Cure and Star De Mohaison. Six RSA winners have failed here but, unlike those, now this is a Grade 1 race, O’Faolain’s Boy does not have to carry a penalty. To be honest I am not sure it was the penalty that beat that sextet, more that they had a hard race and not enough to recover and that is the main argument for anyone wanting to take on this year’s RSA winner. Three of his five rivals also contested the RSA with Just A Par tiring late on to finish seventh having ran well for a long way, Don Cossack falling just as the pace was starting to really hot up and Many Clouds being brought down just after half-way.
Nine of the last 12 winners took part at the Cheltenham Festival but don’t just rely on the RSA Chase (although it is the most significant guide by quite some margin) as five ran elsewhere at the meeting including last year’s winner, Dynaste, who was second in what is now the JLT Novices’ chase, the race in which Wonderful Charm ran a disappointing fifth. In fact, all six runners ran at the Festival as Holywell won the Baylis & Harding Handicap Chase off a mark of 146 and was raised as a result to 157 which, according to the BHA Handicapper, would have seen him edge out O’Faolain’s Boy (rated 156) in the RSA, which will probably raise an eyebrow or two.
Seven of the last 12 winners had won a graded chase. Of today’s field only the Reynoldstown Chase runner-up, Many Clouds, has not done so. However, two of the last four winners contested the Reynoldstown with very contrasting fortunes and Many Clouds was only beaten 2½ lengths by O’Faolain’s Boy at Ascot when attempting to give the winner 4lb so his connections have every right to be thinking of what might have been had he not been brought down in the RSA Chase. The last two winners both contested the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase in which Just A Par was a well-beaten third at odds-on and then had a breathing operation before his RSA run. Paul Nicholls wanted to keep him back for this race and miss the RSA but his owners won that particular argument so it will be interesting to see if that good run for a long way at Cheltenham brings him on or sets him back. Just A Par is the only one of the sextet not to have won at least twice over fences, something that 30 of the last 33 winners had managed to do beforehand. Nicholls has won this race three times however.
Dynaste’s victory last season extended the record of winners that had won over at least three miles before to 20 from the last 23 so do not take too big a chance on whether your selection will fully last out this stamina test. I still believe Don Cossack is a far from guaranteed stayer and Wonderful Charm and Many Clouds have also yet to win over three miles. I don’t doubt for one second that Many Clouds gets this trip well and will be surprised if he is not aimed at the Grand National next season but the other two have questions to answer on the stamina front.
A good race for punters with nine favourites (including joint-favourites) and two second-favourites winning in the last 17 years. In fact, only one of the last 25 winners started at bigger than 10/1 so this is not a race to go in search of an upset.
As Many Clouds has not won a pattern race, Just A Par has won just once over fences and Wonderful Charm and Don Cossack have stamina to prove, the shortlist of O’Faolain’s Boy and Holywell quickly picks itself especially as this is not a race to go in search of an upset. Whilst RSA winners have a mixed record in this race, this is the first time the winner will not carry a penalty and O’Faolain’s Boy looks a toughie so he is a deserving favourite having won a very competitive running of that race three weeks ago, a little cosily in my view though Many Clouds is entitled to not to be too far away on their Reynoldstown form. Having also won the second-best guide of late, the Reynoldstown Chase, he will be hard to beat. Holywell is rated 1lb higher on his handicap win at the Festival despite his trainer moaning he was rated too high beforehand on what he had achieved over fences and it was his stamina that won him the day so this slightly longer trip should suit. He also showed he can handle two big festivals in three weeks last year as he backed up his Pertemps Final win by finishing second to Solwhit in the Grade 1 staying hurdle.
3:05 Betfred Melling Chase
Eleven declarations and, although this wouldn’t be the classiest Melling Chase I’ve ever seen by a long chalk, it is competitive and fascinating all the same. During the last 19 runnings, the favourite or second-favourite has collected on 14 occasions so this has been a punter’s race for sure. Cheltenham’s equivalent race, the Ryanair Chase, has similarly been an excellent race for punters in its short existence. Module and Rajdhani Express, both third at the Cheltenham Festival, are currently disputing favouritism just ahead of the impressive Byrne Group Plate winner, Ballynagour.
Just a note of caution, when races are not up to their usual standard that means we are not comparing like with like as much and that is when strong trends can suffer and the strongest negative pattern is that only two winners bypassed the Cheltenham Festival specifically for this prize since it was first run in 1989. Contenders who gave Cheltenham a miss were Rolling Aces, Days Hotel, Toner D’Oudairies and Pepite Rose.
As this year’s renewal is probably the least classiest on record, I think another strong negative trend therefore even more at risk is that only one non Grade 1 winner from earlier in the season has won in the last 11 runnings. Well, I am certain it is as Boston Bob is the only Grade 1 winner in the race full stop (and those Grade 1 wins weren’t achieved this season) and 2m5f looked too sharp for him in the Ryanair and they are dropping down another furlong here so I can only imagine they are running here as they think it’s a less classy race than the Betfred Bowl. Wishfull Thinking won the Manifesto Chase when it was a Grade 2 race (now a Grade 1).
The last 11 winners ran in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or Ryanair. The Ryanair Chase has featured four winners in its first nine runnings whereas 12 of the last 19 winners posted a top-three finish in the Champion Chase. For the last two seasons it has been the Champion Chase winner that doubled up here and that 2m championship is represented by Module who was a staying-on third and would have been second in a couple more strides and I am convinced he is a better horse over this longer trip so I can see why he is duelling for favouritism. I also thought Wishfull Thinking (5th in the Champion Chase) was in the wrong race at Cheltenham having looked so good over 2m5f on his previous start so wasn’t surprised to see him beaten for speed last month. This trip is much more his bag these days. The Ryanair form is represented by Rajdhani Express (3rd), Boston Bob (6th) and Rathlin (7th). The other races earlier in the season that have been notable guides aren’t a factor this year.
In following up his Maghull Novices’ Chase victory at this meeting 12 months earlier when successful in the Melling Chase, Sprinter Sacre was achieving the same feat as the 2012 winner, Finian’s Rainbow, thus becoming the seventeenth Melling Chase winner from 23 runnings to have previously won or placed at this three-day fixture before. This year’s only qualifier is Wishfull Thinking who won the Manifesto Chase over course and distance in 2011.
The Irish won this five years in succession before Monet’s Garden broke the sequence seven seasons ago and their best guide has been the Boylesports.com Fortria Chase at Navan in November, a race in which their last winners finished 113. This season’s race was won by the injured Flemenstar beating Days Hotel. Boston Bob, Toner D’Oudairies and Rathlin also represent the Irish.
Many punters take the view that it is easier to stay longer distance at flat courses like Aintree and Kempton but I take the opposite view as there is rarely any respite in the gallop at courses like these so horses have to stay very well to win. Of the 23 winners, all but six had not won over 2m4f or further beforehand. Is this strong enough to oppose them though? I’m not so sure.
Front runners have an excellent record in other chase races on the Mildmay Course at this meeting (Silviniaco Conti became the 13th winner in 31 runnings of the Betfair Bowl to make all or virtually all on Day 1) on so it is with some surprise to note that no Melling Chase winner has ever made all the running in its 23 years.
horses placed in the first three in the Champion Chase have a fine record and as this longer trip is expected to suit Module more, he is just the pick of the weak trends this year given how poor a renewal this is compared to other years in addition to also being top rated on ratings. He should also start in the first two in the betting like 14 of the last 19 winners. Second top rated is Wishfull Thinking who, like Module, found 2m too sharp in the Champion Chase, and this trip will suit him better judged on a number of recent efforts. Being the only horse in the line up not only to win at this meeting before but even place, he has to make the short list given the key trend is that 17 of the 23 winners had won or placed at this three-day fixture before. As Rajdhani Express is the highest place finisher from the Ryanair and likely to start in the first two in the betting, he completes the short list for a stable that has supplied the last two winners.
3:40 Crabbie’s Supporting Everton In The Community Topham Chase
Of the last 33 winners, only two were not prominent from half-way so this has been a big race for those that like their in-running betting. All races over the Grand National course tend to favour the prominent racers (Warne was another to make all on Day 1) as an early mistake can put horses on the back foot and it’s difficult to make up ground with fences coming along so regularly. The shorter the trip, the hotter the tempo and the more difficult it becomes for horses who don’t fancy the unique obstacles. It has to be said that last year’s winner, Triolo D’Alene, was one of those two winners given a hold-up ride. Dunowen Point led from the third fence to half-way up the run-in when fourth last year and is 8lb lower today creeping in off 10st 1lb and six of the last ten winners ran in last season’s race with four of the last five finishing in the first four so he must have a great each-way chance. Other contenders from last season’s race are Giorgio Quercus (hampered and u.r four out when in touch) and Bennys Mist (pulled up) who now races in a first-time hood.
In fact, eight of the last ten winners had run over these fences before so also consider Royal Rebellion (won the Grand Sefton in December), Poole Master (7th in Grand Sefton), Big Fella Thanks (numerous runs including 4th, 6th and 7th in the Grand National), You Must Know Me (3rd in Grand Sefton), Tatenen (two incompletions in the Grand National), Soll (7th in last season’s Grand National) and Your Busy (2nd in Grand Sefton).
Since 2000 only Gwanako has carried more than 11st to victory. In fact, nine of the last 11 winners carried no more than 10st 7lb. Triolo D’Alene’s victory carrying 10st 7lb kept that run going last year but it is worth noting that the runner-up was one of the top weights carrying 11st 7lb and the second and third in 2011 and 2012 had also been towards the head of the handicap so don’t be put off if you fancy a horse with a big weight for place-only purposes. Top weight is Champion Court who was seventh in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and that was the key race last year as the 1-2 were the only representatives from the top 2m4f handicap chase of the season.
Sticking with Cheltenham form, with regards to the open handicap chase run at the Festival over a similar distance, the Byrne Group Plate, six Topham winners since 1995 ran in that 2m5f contest but three of them were in the 1990s. This year’s Plate representatives are Tatenen (3rd), Giorgio Quercus (6th), Champion Court (7th), Bennys Mist (13th) and King Edmund (14th).
In the last 20 runnings as many as 99 horses aged 11 or older have taken part with only the remarkable Always Waining coming out on top when landing his third Topham so I am happy to overlook Massini’s Maguire (13), Big Fella Thanks (12), He’llberemembered (11), Tanks For That (11), King Edmund (11) and Your Busy (11).
Triolo D’Alene was another successful, young French-bred last season at the age of six but we have to go back to the Jenny Pitman-trained Smith’s Man in 1985 for the last British or Irish-bred aged under eight to be successful which is against Lost Legend and Standin Ovation who wears a first-time hood.
Winning form earlier in the season had been present on the profiles of 13 successive winners up until 2005 but, of the subsequent eight winners, only Gwanako has won earlier in the season since. Aside from failing to secure a victory earlier in the season, a busy campaign is also no negative as 13 winners in the past two decades had run seven times or more in the build up to Aintree. Nineteen of the previous 20 winners before Triolo D’Alene had run four times or more earlier in the campaign and had run in March or April.
Nicky Henderson has won the Topham three times and runs the Baylis & Harding runner-up, Ma Filleule, who was outstayed by Holywell after kicking into a clear lead so this shorter trip can suit her. Barry Geraghty takes over from Nico De Boinville. Henderson also runs Tanks For That and Giorgio Quercus. As for the Irish, Willie Mullins has trained a winner, two seconds, two thirds and a fifth and he runs Bishopsfurze who some would consider an unusual contender as jumping hasn’t been his strong suit. The Irish have registered five victories in total, going back to 1952, but since 1979 have only hit the target twice. They’ve been knocking at the door, with five of the first seven home in 2010, the third and fourth in 2011 and another third-place finish last season.
The last five French-bred winners going back to 1988 had not won over 3m+ before, the first four of which had never run further than around the Topham distance of 2m5½f so Fago fits that profile.
You Must Know Me
Stats say it is hard to carry over 10st 7lb let alone 11st to victory recently so I will pass over the top eight in the handicap for sure and another seven horses carrying that 11st threshold or less can also overlooked for being too old or too young (if not French-bred) so that’s cuts the potential shortlist by 50%. Of those, I will look to the very low weights. Dunowen Point has been trained to go three places better than last year for Donald McCain who has won the other two races over these fences at this meeting and is likely to be ridden prominently again off a featherweight in a bid to become the fifth winner since 2007 to have finished in the first four in the race the previous year so he is the standout trends pick (despite just three runs this season) and I expect him to be very well tipped up and shorten as a consequence so it may be best getting on early if you like his chance. Giorgio Quercus was in contention when hampered four out last year and represents a stable with three Topham wins so is another to consider for each-way purposes at a tidy price having also run creditably in the Byrne Group Plate. Bennys Mist also contested the two best guides (this race and the Byrne Group Plate) and Venetia Williams has turned to a first-time hood which could signal a return to form. Soll has Aintree experience having finished seventh in the Grand National and like the last eight winners has not won this season and he led last time out early on so a similarly-positive ride can see him go well for a long way. Of the horses set to carry between 10st 7lb and 11st, You Must Know Me makes most appeal despite just three runs this season and lack of recent winners for the Irish, but they have been going close recently so he makes each-way appeal. Third in the Grand Sefton Chase here in December, he looks like he has been trained with this race in mind by Henry de Bromhead who is a terrific target trainer and the vast majority of his chasers jump like bucks.
4:15 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle
Of the 26 winners exactly half had run at the previous month’s Cheltenham Festival (and 10 of 19 since the Sefton became a Grade 1) so no real angle there one way or another. At Fishers Cross became the fourth Sefton winner to have contested any of the nine runnings of the Albert Bartlett and the second to complete the double but, remarkably, only the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Cogry (8th) of today’s 18-runner field contested that Grade 1 3m novice hurdle so this year’s race has a substandard look about it. His trainer has had two winners and two thirds in this race.
When there was no 3m novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, it was the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle over 2m5f that was previously the principal guide with four second, third, or fourth place finishers winning here between 1988-1999 but the last 15 horses that have tried the three-furlong longer Sefton Novices’ Hurdle after filling the frame in the Neptune have all been beaten. Two Neptune runners take their chance this time; Killala Quay (4th) and Cole Harden (7th).
The best guide outside of the Cheltenham Festival has been the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) run at Haydock in mid-February having featured four of the last 13 winners. This year’s race was won by the eight-year-old mare, Toubeera, in testing conditions but she has been well beaten twice. The other guides to have had a notable effect are not relevant this year.
Seventeen of the last 19 winners had won at least twice over hurdles which is against Beat That, Deadly Sting (trainer has saddled two winners and a second and is also represented by Capote), Mondo Cane, Port Melon, Themanfrom Minella and Walk On Al. That said, it would be remiss not to point out that those two winners with just one hurdling success to their name occurred in just the last four years The more wins the better actually as last year’s winner was 5-5 earlier in the season thus extending the record of winners that had won at least four times earlier in the campaign to eight from the last 17 years so do be dazzled by all those 1s next to a contender’s name for Seeyouatmidnight, The Last Samuri and Tagrita. Nineteen of the last 21 winners had run at least four times over timber.
Over the last two decades 12 Sefton winners had previously won over at least three miles. And don’t forget that this race is run over an extended three miles at that. Winners over at least three miles over hurdles are Capote, Seeyouatmidnight, The Last Samuri, Walk On Al, Tagrita and Toubeera. The likes of Racing Pulse, Themanfrom Minella and Port Melon won over the trip in a point-to-point.
Three Irish-trained horses have won since 1989 (and all three bypassed Cheltenham) and they are represented this year by Dessie Hughes’ Giantofaman who won a Grade 2 novice hurdle over 2m4f on heavy ground last time out and the Noel Glynn-trained nine-year-old, Flatfoot Boogie, who has not run for 198 days
Seeyouatmidnight has plenty of hurdling experience, is a multiple winner and has proven he stays three miles so meets three of the strongest criteria so tops the trends-based shortlist. His first two wins of the season were achieved at 66/1 and 22/1 plus he was a 6/1 chance when completing his hat-trick over hurdles so he continues to surprise and be under-rated. Now he is top rated to the tune of 12lb this time, that is no longer likely to be the case and he should be the clear favourite. Toubeera is another proven over the trip and a multiple winner over timber and also won the best guide outside of the Cheltenham Festival so she is interesting again receiving a 7lb mares’ allowance. Capote has also proven that three miles is no problem to him, has won both his hurdles starts and is trained by Jonjo O’Neill who has saddled two winners and a second in this race so he must be respected. Even though he only finished eighth, as Cogry is the only Albert Bartlett Hurdle representative and represents a stable with two winners and two thirds, he could be a tad of each-way value. Racing Pulse was favourite to beat Seeyouatmidnight last time out but failed to give his best and is interesting here having impressed in a point-to-point, bumper and maiden hurdle and has three-mile winning form albeit between the flags.
4:50 Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle
Little did we realise it at the time but when Auroras Encore won this event at 50/1 back in 2008 that he would go on to win the Grand National five seasons later when an unconsidered outsider once again. As with the 3m handicap hurdle at this meeting, novices have a good record winning seven times since 2002. This year they are represented by Cheltenian (though a second-season hurdler), Little Jon, Zabana, Stonebrook and Aazif.
Of the 25 runnings to date, 12 winners ran at the Cheltenham Festival. The Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle are the two handicap hurdles run over around the same distance as this handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and Attaglance became the first winner to have come on from the latter event, a race only inaugurated in 2009 and he returns again after his unlucky second in the novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Caid Du Berlais was third in this season’s ‘Martin Pipe’ finishing ahead of Art Professor (17th) and Hazy Tom (19th).
The Coral Cup has been run since 1993 and six winners here contested that viciously-competitive handicap which is a fairly healthy return. Clondaw Kaempfer (14th) and too aggressively ridden in my view, Party Rock (p.u) and Yesyoucan (p,u) represent that race this time. The Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle over 2m1f has produced four winners but only two of them since 1990. Contenders from that event this year are Lyvius (8th), Alaivan (9th), Cash And Go (11th), Morning Royalty (15th), Citizenship (23rd) and Cheltenian (p.u as 5/1 favourite).
All but four winners of this race, that first saw the light of day in 1989, had struck at some point in the campaign. Of the quartet of winners that had not managed a win earlier in the season, two carried the familiar colours of J P McManus who has owned five winners of this race in total in the last 16 years and Alaivan and Stonebrook will bid to make that six.
A healthy strike rate of five wins in the last 16 runnings for Irish yards, but their runners have been few and far between recently with just five turning out in the last six seasons and only Zabana and Mister Hotelier are sent over this season.
Only four of the last 25 winners failed to win earlier in the season which is against Attaglance, Grand Vision, Clondaw Kaempfer, Cash And Go, Art Professor, Morning Royalty, Alaivan, Little Jon and Golden Hoof.
The lightly-weighted Stonebrook makes plenty of appeal being a J P McManus-owned (5 wins in 16 years) novice (7 wins in the last 12 years) having won four of his last five starts. McManus also owns Alaivan but others make more appeal notably the Andrew Lynch-trained Zabana who is also a novice and is one of just two Irish raiders and they have fared well in this handicap. Mister Hotelier is the second Irish-based contender and arrives here off the back of a win at Wexford so is respected as is the bottom weight, Aaazif, given the good record of novices in this race and he was only narrowly beaten on his only start at Aintree. The Coral Cup has been the best guide and Party Rock makes appeal as the best hope from that race despite pulling up at Cheltenham and having not shown much in his previous three starts but he has won and finished second in three starts at Aintree so a return to this course could conceivably jazz him back up to run a big race at a huge each-way price
5:25 Concerto Group Mares’ Bumper
Just nine runnings to work from and, with more luck, Alan King could have won five of them having been responsible for a winner and four seconds. His representative this time is Avispa who finished fourth in the EBF Stallions TBA Mares’ Only Bumper (Listed) at Sandown on Imperial Cup Day which is the highest class race of its kind before the Grand National Meeting and has been a good guide to this race. Tempest River finished fourth in that bumper three years ago before taking this event at 20/1 and Eleven Fifty Nine was third before reversing placings with Call Me A Star two years ago. In addition, the same mares’ bumper at Sandown has featured the runner-up here in three of the last eight years. The runner-up, Tara Mist, also takes here chance and had the measure of Avispa by 14 lengths on that occasion only beaten by an ultra-game Irish-trained mare.
The record of the Irish has really caught the eye in very recent seasons supplying the first three home five years ago with John Kiely responsible for the winner and runner-up and they put up an excellent overall effort three years ago as only a Peter Bowen-trained 28/1 winner (you have to look at every Bowen horse at Aintree and he runs Princess Tara) denied the Irish a second 1-2-3 on the spin as they supplied the next three horses home (Kiely was thereabouts again saddling the fourth). The Irish have also supplied the runner-up for the last two years. No Kiely runners this year but Kayf Hampshire and Queen Alphabet have been sent over
Not a lot more to add to the above except than The Govaness is top rated on her Cheltenham win at The Open Meeting but she is penalised 4lb for that Listed success and not run since and that Alan Swinbank has a good record in the other bumper at this meeting and has booked AP McCoy for Molly Cat. Tara Mist holds Avispa on Sandown running which has been an excellent guide but I respect Alan King’s record in this race so don’t be surprised if he gives Tara Mist more of a race this time. The Irish don’t send over bumper runners in Britain without good reason as they are hardly races laden with prize money so both Kayf Hampshire and, maybe more interestingly, Queen Alphabet, are respected as is Princess Tara for Peter Bowen who won this race with a 28/1 outsider in the past and does particularly well in bumpers at Aintree full stop.