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    Default aintree thoughts and selections for day3 - 5/3/2014

    1:30 Pertemps Network Mersey Novices’ Hurdle

    Ubak’s shock 22/1 success last year when winning his first race at the eighth time of asking aside, this has been a terrific race for punters as 12 of the last 16 winners started favourite or second-favourite.

    Promoted to Grade 1 status for the first time this year but I don’t believe there are too many, if any, Grade 1 horses in its first running since its promotion. Of the last 17 winners, 12 recorded a top-seven finish at the Cheltenham Festival and the three qualifiers on that score are the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle winner, Lac Fontana, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fifth, Wilde Blue Yonder, and the Coral Cup fifth, Dell’ Arca. Surprisingly given this race is just 1f shy of the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, it has attracted no runners from that race which makes what was already not the strongest of trends races even less so as that was the best guide. Wilde Blue Yonder steps up in trip having run well to finish fifth in the Supreme (and the second and fourth dominated the Top Novices’ Hurdle on the opening race of Day 2 so that form has already been franked) and six of the last 16 Mersey Hurdle winners were stepping up to 2m4f for the first time. In addition, top-six finishers in the Supreme have a pretty good record with four winners since 2000.

    So what of the five winners since 1996 who failed to record a top-seven finish at the Cheltenham Festival? It wasn’t a case of that quintet failing badly at Cheltenham as their connections elected to bypass the Cheltenham Festival altogether. In other words, horses that did not figure at Cheltenham are worth taking on such as Un Ace and Splash Of Ginge (previously won the Betfair Hurdle) who were eighth and fifteenth respectively in the Supreme. I may be a little unfair on Un Ace though as just six lengths covered horses that finished between second and twelfth in the Supreme.

    Nicky Henderson has trained two winners and a second in the last three years and he runs Oscar Hoof and Volnay De Thaix, but unlike his three previous runners that fared so well, this pair bypassed Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls can scarcely be accused of having committed legions of runners in pursuit of the prize but his record stands at three winners from eight runners which catches the eye and is a boost for supporters of Lac Fontana.

    Sea Lord returns following an absence of 139 days but horses off the course for longer than 40 days have won once since 1998. He is also a front runner (only Best Mate has made all since 1994) and he is also older than ideal being a seven-year-old. Six-year-olds dominated the 2012 running but a 1-2 for five-year-olds 12 months ago was more in line with recent renewals as they also posted a 1-2 in 2011 and a 1-2-3 in 2010, whilst a further four other five-year-olds have prevailed since the start of the century.


    Wilde Blue Yonder

    Lac Fontana

    Dell’ Arca


    Given that they are both top-seven finishers at the Cheltenham Festival who are stepping up in trip, Wilde Blue Younder and Lac Fontana appeal most. Four top-six finishers in the Supreme have won since the turn of the century which is a positive for Wilde Blue Yonder (Supreme form already franked) whilst the County Hurdle winner, Lac Fontana, represents Paul Nicholls who has a good record in this race, especially with horses stepping up in trip. Both are also five-year-olds and they have the best record as is Dell’ Arca who has been in great form in competitive handicaps this season and also recorded a top-six finish at Cheltenham when upped to this kind of trip in the Coral Cup. Nicky Henderson has a good record of late in this race but unlike his recent winners, his pair of Volnay De Thaix and Oscar Hoof did not run at Cheltenham. Kayf Moss, Kilcooley and Monkey Kingdom all arrive here after winning more than once recently at a much lower level and will need to step up.

    2:05 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase

    As usual a small but select field for this Grade 1 race. I don’t think this has been the best season for 2m novice chasers by a long chalk so maybe the strong trend of looking to Arkle runners is under pressure this year? As many as 17 of the last 19 Maghull winners contested that two-mile novice chase championship at the Cheltenham Festival if we exclude 2001 when Cheltenham was abandoned due to the outbreak of Foot And Mouth but, that said, those two winners have come in the last four years so perhaps this trend is not quite as strong as it first appears. Trifolium (3rd) and Ted Veale (fell two out when behind and beaten) represent the Arkle this season and, with regards to Trifolium, three Arkle thirds have won this race since 2000.

    The Kingmaker Novices’ Chase won by Balder Succes run at Warwick in February has proven significant as four of its last six winners which then took their chance in here won, the latest being Finian’s Rainbow three years ago. Hinterland won the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) but we have to go back to Direct Route during the 1997/98 season to find the last winner to complete the double.

    Heading into last year’s renewal, the previous 15 winners could be found in the first three in the betting (and the last ten in the first two) so Special Tiara winning as the 28/1 outsider of six was a kick in the teeth to most punters. Last season’s (I’m inclined to call it ‘freak’) result aside, to further underline just what a massive race this is for the leading fancies, the first two in the betting have finished first or second (in either order) in eight of the last ten runnings and on the other occasion it was the favourite and third-favourite that fought it out.

    As the Mildmay Chase Course suits fluent, handy types with the class to hold a good pitch, I am not surprised that prominently-ridden horses have a strong record and 14 of the last 15 winners of Maghull raced handily and it was only one of the top-ten two-mile chasing greats in Well Chief who was given a successful hold-up ride in the last 15 years. I think we can expect Next Sensation to lead having shot clear in the Grand Annual and he may well have won (only beaten 1¾ lengths) if he was not ridden quite so aggressively. Balder Success, Trifolium and Moscow Mannon (for the Henry de Bromhead stable that caused a big upset in this race last year giving the Irish their first win in 24 years) also like to race close to the pace but I would expect Ted Veale, Hinterland and Simply Ned to be held up.

    Paul Nicholls was unrepresented last season but having saddled five winners and seven runners-up from 18 runners since 1999, his followers will be keen to back Hinterland who returns to taking on fellow novices having fallen four out when going okay in the Champion Chase last time out. He is a French-bred like seven of the last 14 winners as are Balder Succes and Trifolium.



    Balder Succes


    As the Arkle has been the key guide by a massive amount over the last two decades then Trifolium has to be respected attempting to become the fourth third-place finisher to go two places better here since the turn of the century but, as two of the last four winners bypassed the Arkle, it is not as strong a trend as it used to be. He is certainly favoured over the other Arkle runner, Ted Veale, who is still a maiden over fences. French-breds have a fine record in this race so that is another positive for Trifolium as it is for Balder Succes who won the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick two starts ago which has been an excellent pointer with four of its last six winners to run here winning. Slick jumping is key in novice chases at flat Warwick where the fences come at horsesquickly so that is not too dissimilar from Aintree so I can see why Kingnmaker winners have such a fine Maghull record. Being French-bred and representing Paul Nicholls, a good case can also be argued for Hinterland but he has not contested any of the key guides and arrives here off a fall and is a hold-up horse in a race where there has been only one held-up winner in the last 15 years. Next Sensation looks likely to lead but the shortlisted pair like to track the leader in their races so hopefully won’t give him as much rope as when he almost won the Grand Annual.

    2:50 Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle (Liverpool Hurdle)

    Just seven runners following the surprise non-declaration of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner, More Of That, so I imagine far more connections of the original six-day entries are wishing they went through fully their entry now. The World Hurdle is still very well represented however as the third and fourth, At Fishers Cross and Zarkandar, take their chance and both horses also won at this three-day meeting last season, as does Salubrious who flopped at Cheltenham and Paul Nicholls has turned to a first-time hood for him. In ten runnings of this race at Aintree since it was switched from Ascot, it has been World Hurdle form and previous winners or runners-up at this meeting all the way so the shortlist quickly picks itself.

    Nine of the ten winners ran in the World Hurdle where At Fishers Cross ran a solid third beating Zarkandar by two lengths who finished well in fourth having been held up to stay the trip so I would expect last season’s Aintree Hurdle winner not to give the leaders as much rope this time now that connections know he stays three miles. Blinkers are back on Zarkandar today (wore no headgear at Cheltenham) as they were for the first time over hurdles when he beat The New One under a great front running ride in last season’s Aintree Hurdle. All ten winners had won or finished second at this meeting before which is therefore also a big plus for At Fishers Cross who easily won last season’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. As all ten winners also started in the first three in the betting and at no bigger than 11/2, that is all the more reason to ration your thoughts to just this pair.

    The Knoxs is surely out of his class but the other three runners all have claims on their bst form as Whisper won the Coral Cup last time out under a big weight and the highest-ever rating carried to victory in that race, Thousand Stars has been placed in the last three Aintree Hurdles and Melodic Rendezvous keeps on winning pattern races but was predictably taken off his feet over 2m on decent ground in the Champion Hurdle. This is a huge step up in distance for Melodic Rendezvous though as the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f would have been a more obvious target so what is against him here is that all ten winners had won a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race and been successful over a minimum of 2m6f. That stat is also against Whisper. Not so Thousand Stars who has twice won the French Champion Hurdle over 3m2f but he whether he is the same horse now I have serious doubts.


    At Fishers Cross



    This is very straightforward in terms of a shortlist as all ten winners started in the first three in the betting and had won or finished at this meeting before and nine of those ran in the World Hurdle so take your pick between At Fishers Cross and Zarkandar with just two lengths separating the pair at Cheltenham. The blinkers back on will tempt many into backing Zarkandar and he will also surely be ridden with a view that he stays this time unlike in the World Hurdle so I can see that angle if you fancy him to reverse placings. However, I thought At Fishers Cross was ridden to win that race committing early enough so therefore was more vulnerable to fall away but he still finished ahead of Zarkandar and, to my eyes, despite the fact he won the Albert Bartlett last season, the best At Fishers Cross looked all that season in his six wins was when winning at this meeting last April so I prefer him of the pair. Salubrious is far better than he showed at Cheltenham and a first-time hood makes him interesting and there is not a lot wrong with his 2¼ lengths’ second to More Of That back in December so he would be the one that worries me most of the remainder as time appears to have caught up to Thousand Stars to an extent, there are big stamina doubts surrounding Melodic Rendezvous and Whisper steps up from handicaps for Nicky Henderson whose record in this race is not the best.

    3:25 Betfred TV Handicap Chase

    This wouldn’t be the strongest of trends races. The last two winners had won at this three-day meeting the previous season and the 2012 winner, Saint Are, runs here again rather than the Grand National in which he was ninth last year and was entered again, and he is far more at home here than at undulating Cheltenham having also won the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) at this fixture so I wouldn’t read much into his moderate effort at the Cheltenham Festival.

    There is nobody better in the business when it comes to stayers than Jonjo O’Neill and he has prepared four winners of this staying handicap chase in the last 14 years from just seven runners. Interestingly, he runs Johns Spirit again as this season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup winner was his representative in this race last year as a novice when he finished third. He is off a 15lb higher mark this season but he has certainly earned that. Philip Hobbs went close several times before hitting the target with From Dawn To Dusk and he runs Duke Of Lucca.

    Nine of the last 17 winners ran at the Cheltenham Festival of which three of the last seven contested the Byrne Group Plate over 2m4f. Plate representatives this season are Johns Spirit (4th) and Wetak (9th).

    With three of the last eight winners being novices, two of which bolted up by 15 lengths and 16 lengths, we should certainly be looking very closely at Gullinbursti (in a first-time visor), Victor Hewgo, Minella For Value and Kian’s Delight.

    Fifteen of the last 17 winners were aged nine or younger so Carruthers, Tranquil Sea and Your Busy would not be for me. Seven of the last ten winners have raced prominently from the outset so, like with so many races on the Mildmay Course over fences, a sound jumper that races up with the pace is ideal.


    Johns Spirit

    Saint Are

    Kian’s Delight



    Given Jonjo O’Neill’s sparkling record in this race and the fact the Byrne Group Plate is a good guide, then last season’s third and this season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup winner, Johns Spirit, has to have an excellent chance having finished fourth in the Plate, even if his hold-up running style is not ideally suited to the Mildmay Chase Course. Previous form in this race has also been important of late which is in his favour in addition to the 2012 winner, Saint Are, who adores Aintree and it would be no surprise if he has been trained for this race for a long time and he is off an 8lb lower mark than when he took this handicap two years ago so he has to have a fantastic each-way chance. He also likes to race prominently and ran at the Cheltenham Festival which are two more positives. Given the excellent record of novices and how well Peter Bowen fares in general at Aintree, Kian’s Delight off bottom weight appeals most of their four contenders despite an absence of 168 days. In Bowen’s case, I would treat that absence as a positive. As three top weights have won in the last 16 years and Unioniste is 2-2 at Aintree, he receives the final vote for the Nicholls yard that won this race with Sleeping Night.

    4:15 Crabbie’s Grand National

    Given the modifications I’ve made an argument in the book, based on just one year admittedly, that we should look to out-and-out stayers again as lower fences equals a faster pace and therefore that places more emphasis on stamina. For example, even though the race distance was shortened last year, the time was still slower than when it was run over a furlong longer the previous year. Given the emphasis is again firmly based on stamina due to the modifications, therefore the classier horses could start to struggle again carrying a biggish weight. Using another example for admittedly just one year, only one horse carrying over 11st could finish in the first 11 places from 13 to take their chance. On that basis, am I prepared to let the top six in the weights pass without an interest; Tidal Bay (11st 10lb), Long Run (11st 9lb), Hunt Ball (11st 8lb), Triolo D’Alene (11st 6lb), Rocky Creek (11st 5lb) and Quito De La Roque (11st 1lb).

    Sticking with the stamina argument, and I do believe that the modifications to the fences makes this a bigger test of stamina than before (last season’s 1-2-3-4-5 had all placed in an Aintree, Scottish, Welsh or Irish National before) so, allied to the fact that we have to go back to Gay Trip in 1970 to find the last winner yet to win over at least 3m, how can we seriously consider the likes of last season’s Topham second and third, Walkon and Last Time D’Albain? This also means Hunt Ball has a second negative to overcome. Buckers Bridge won a point-to-point on his debut over 3m but has only once tried 3m+ since when third behind the Gold Cup runner-up, On His Own, last time out.

    Regards age, as no teenager has won since 1923 and none have placed since 1969, Tidal Bay would be an extraordinary winner off top weight especially as he is also a hold-up horse and prominent racers have a big edge over the Grand National fences. Also aged 13 is Swing Bill who has squeezed into the race as bottom weight for his new owner, the new race sponsor, who has completed this course five times in six starts. At the other end of the scale no horse aged younger than eight has won since 1940 and none have placed since 1971 plus, since 1992, only eight of their 44 contenders have even finished so that is another negative for the Topham and Hennessy winner, Triolo D’Alene, to overcome as it is for his fellow seven-year-old, Kruzhlinin.

    I am not mad keen on eight-year-olds either as experience is key in the Grand National and just one eight-year-old has won in the last 20 years. Again, stamina is part reason for this as I believe that to be more likely to be found in older horses and using last year’s race as an example again, remarkably, five of the first six horses past the post were aged 11+ after the modifications which placed more emphasis on stamina. Therefore, I am happy to also overlook eight-year-olds such as Double Seven (under AP McCoy), Buckers Bridge, Our Father, Vintage Star, Twirling Magnet (officially a novice and no such winner since 1958) and Vesper Bell (fell at the first in the Becher Chase). Rocky Creek therefore also has a second negative trend to overcome.

    Another profile I am no fan of is arriving here after a notable break. A total of 56 days had passed since Neptune Collonges before he won meaning that he became the first Grand National since Aldaniti in 1981 to have been off the course for over 50 days. In the whole scheme of things six days is neither here nor there, the point I am trying to get across is that a fairly recent run is important and it also doesn’t have to be a good one. Therefore any of Battle Group (105 days off), Prince Du Beauchene (79 days off), The Rainbow Hunter (70 days off), Vesper Bell (72 days off), Rose Of The Moon (74 days off) or Alvarado (94 days off) would be an unusual winner in this respect.

    Cheltenham Festival winners from the same season don’t have a good record either with just one winning since 1961. That said, I wouldn’t be making that argument had Sunnyhillboy (won Kim Muir on previous start) won by a flared nostril rather than being beaten by a flared nostril two years ago. Balthazar King won the Cross Country Handicap at Cheltenham three weeks ago so he fails on this stat but, more worryingly than that, he faded very quickly after just a circuit in last season’s race. Incidentally, both Balthazar King and the third in that Cross Country Chase, Big Shu, are officially 9lb and 7lb well in after their Cheltenham runs and three of the last seven Grand National winners were at least 5lb well in.

    Teaforthree may well start favourite after finishing third last year and racing off a 2lb lower mark this time despite running well at Ascot and in the Gold Cup for a long way so it is not difficult to see why. However, of the last 69 win-or-placed Grand National runners from the previous year to run 12 months later, only Amberleigh House has won. The majority get round (45 of those 69 did so) and ten of the placed horses finished placed again so I would argue that he is more of a place-only bet than a win or each-way bet.

    Given the fence modifications I am not sure this final negative stat holds huge weight but I will list it anyway – 15 of the last 17 winners had no more than two falls/unseats to their name. One of those was Auroras Encore last year to underline the caution of following this trend too literally but, for the record, horses with 3+ falls/unseats are Colbert Station (three in his last six starts so I do feel it is his relevant in his case), Battle Group (four falls/unseats and two refusals), The Rainbow Hunter and Golan Way (two falls but I don’t like the two refusals much – Alvarado has also refused twice)

    Once the negative trends have been applied that leaves 15 horses for closer inspection regards positive trends; Wayward Prince, Mr Moonshine, Across The Bay, Lion Na Bearnai, Monbeg Dude, Big Shu, Burton Port, Mountainous, Chance Du Roy, Hawkes Point, Pineau De Re, The Package, Raz De Maree, Shakalakaboomboom and One In A Milan. In my Aintree book, I have star-rated horses aged in double figures as the best trend as they have won 16 times in the last 24 runnings so, on that basis, I will let Monbeg Dude, Big Shu, Mountainous, Hawkes Point, Raz De Maree (first-time visor) and One In A Milan (first-time visor) go at this stage being nine-year-olds leaving a new shortlist of nine.

    Of the nine horses left, I have gone with the six that meet the most of the other six relevant positive trends I have listed which are (1) 11 of the last 17 winners had won or placed in another National (Lion Na Bearnai won the 2012 Irish National and, to a lesser extent, Pineau De Re won the 2013 Ulster National), (2) 8 of the last 11 winners had run over hurdles earlier in the season (Burton Port, Pineau De Re, Wayward Prince, Across The Bay and Shakalakaboomboom), (3) Irish-trained horses have won 7 of the last 15 runnings (Lion Na Bearnai), (4) 12 of the last 15 winners were Irish-bred (Mr Moonshine, Across The Bay, Lion N Bearnia, Burton Port and Shakalakaboom), (5) 5 of the last 13 winners were unplaced in last year’s race (Mr Moonshine and Across The Bay and (6) prominent racers are favoured (Shakalakaboomboom, Mr Moonshine, Across The Bay (though been held up last twice)).


    Lion Na Bearnai


    Mr Moonshine

    Across The Bay

    Burton Port

    Pineau De Re


    I liked Chance Du Roy and The Rainbow Hunter at each-way pops before I went through all the trends with a fine toothcomb and the first-named just narrowly misses out not having as many positive trends having survived all the negative trends as the sextet listed, though both horses have my main three-pronged profile of being aged in double figures racing off a nice weight and being in form so I couldn’t put you off either. Lion Na Bearnai fits the trends best as he is proven in a National, stays well, being 12 is no negative for this race, he is Irish-trained and bred, jumps well, has a nice weight and the man of the moment and top horseman (often what you need in this race more than a jockey), Davy Russell, has been booked. Lion Na Bearnai cused a 33/1 shock when winning the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National two springs ago so he should have the stamina but he found life tough the following season off a higher handicap mark struggling in both the Hennessy Gold Cup and Coral Scottish Grand National (three of the last five Grand National winners ran in that Ayr marathon 50 weeks earlier) but we know he is in good heart this season having won at Fairyhouse in February before struggling in a Grade 2 chase last time.

    For a twelve-year-old he can not be accused of burn out having had just 15 chase starts and he looks good each-way value at around 33/1. Shakalakaboomboom was backed into joint-favouritism two years ago and jumped for fun up front until the home turn and then got tired when just an eight-year-old. He missed last season with injury and now races off an 8lb lower mark so is handicapped to go close off a low weight and being an older and stronger horse. Mr Moonshine represents the Auroras Encore connections of owner/trainer/jockey and is no forlorn hope to give them a second victory. He has course experience having finished a close-up third in the Becher Chase beaten 2¾ lengths by Chance Du Roy. He is 8lb worse off with the winner here but he has won twice since that day and ran a decent trial at Kelso last time out when second in the same race in which Auroras Encore was unplaced in. He was pulled up in last season’s Grand National however, and races off a 10lb higher mark this time.

    Across The Bay needs to up his game on his two previous runs over these fences and he can be a bit in-and-out but he is ultra-game on his day and his trainer knows what is required to win this race. Burton Port represents leading owner Trevor Hemmings who likes his staying chasers to be trained with the Crabbie’s Grand National in mind and he has won the race with Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs This former Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth, was switched from Nicky Henderson to Jonjo O’Neill over the summer as O’Neill has such a good Grand National record of late and been trained for just one day. It is hard to say that he has looked his best this season but his handicap rating has dropped as a consequence which will mean he carries less weight which will help him as he is not the biggest and his trainer is a master at preparing a staying chaser for their intended target.He showed more zip last time when almost making all the running in a veteran’s chase at Newbury. Pineau De Re is the right kind of age being 11 and he travelled like a dream through the Pertemps Final over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival and a number of Grand National winners prepped over timber earlier in the campaigns. Considering he was a 33/1 shot three weeks ago, the impression given beforehand was that he was mainly prepping for Aintree but he was only beaten a neck finishing strongly and could be just the type the general public will underestimate on the day like Auroras Encore last year being an 11-year-old from not a high-profile stable. He did only get as far as the eighth fence when in rear in this season’s Becher Chase though.

    5:10 Maxilead Metals Handicap Hurdle

    This handicap restricted to conditional jockeys and amateur riders used to be one of the strongest of the season in terms of trends but it is hard to argue it is the same race now that professionals are not allowed to ride so relevant trends are no very thin on the ground. For example, five and six-year-olds had won 16 of the 18 renewals up until the changes in 2009 but the next two winners were aged nine and seven and we even had a successful four-year-old filly last season when Cockney Sparrow won. She also became the first favourite (or joint-favourite) to win for 19 years.

    In addition since the change, horses to run in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle have won three of the five runnings compared to being 0-48 going back to 1993 so that is now a positive rather than a negative and what was the domain of very lowly-weighted horses is no longer the case with winners now successful from other areas of the handicap.

    When this two-mile handicap hurdle opened the card on Grand National Day the Irish had a terrific record winning four times between 2000 and 2007. Although it is no longer on terrestrial television, the Irish still supplied the winner and second three years ago so clearly any Irish contenders have to be taken very seriously. The record of the Irish aside, the only stat to have held up since the change is that that no front runner has won since 1998 and that was only a five-runner race.



    Massini’s Point

    Drum Lee

    Glen Beg



    Positives here are for County Hurdle runners (Rainbow Creek (12th), Jumps Road (16th) and Strongpoint (19th)) and the Irish (Rocky Wednesday, Strongpoint, Massini’s Trap, Somethingwonderful, Drum Lee and Glen Beg). He may be a ten-year-old but as Strongpoint scores on both counts, he tops the short list. Being five or six is preferable so Massini’s Trap, who also has the added interest of first-time blinkers, joins him as do Glen Beg and Somethingwonderful who were first and second in the same Navan handicap 20 days ago. In for a penny, in for a pound, the final shortlisted contender is also Irish-trained being Drum Lee who was third in that same race so let’s hope that is the key piece of form so we get the Trifecta up! The talented Ger Fox takes 7lb off his back taking over from David Casey on this occasion however.

    5:45 Weatherbys Private Banking Bumper

    Not a bad renewal of this Grade 2 bumper (the second most important in Britain) two years ago with The New One beating My Tent Or Yours into second I guess. Over to you last season’s 1-2 Killyglass and Vago Collonges! The New One had previously finished sixth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival thus becoming the sixth winner of this Grade 2 event to contest that prize, five in the last 14 years. All five were unplaced at Cheltenham so don’t let the fact that Modus (8th) or Our Kaempfer (17th) finish out of the money put you off them.

    Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this race three times and runs Ballybolley who is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Southwell and Towcester. Alan Swinbank is another name to conjure with having supplied a winner and a runner-up in two of the last six seasons and he runs Fly Home Harry who won two bumpers before Christmas Day and finished second in two more afterwards under penalties but is back to a level-weights contest here. Of the 26 winners, 22 had run no more than three times in bumpers beforehand which is the negative for him.



    Our Kaempfer


    Fly Home Harry


    The Irish totally dominated the Weatherbys Champion Bumper again this year filling the first six places but Modus ran creditably in eighth so has to be considered close to being the best bumper performer in Britain, especially having easily won a bumper at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Our Kaempfer’s third in the Listed Bumper at Cheltenham in November just behind Red Sherlock is also good form so he was disappointing at the Festival but I am sure he is a lot better than that. Trainer trends say we must look out for Ballyboley and Fly Home Harry hence their inclusion.

    6 Thanks given to ganjaman2

    Bald Bouncer (4th April 2014), BIG-TED (6th April 2014), c0axial (5th April 2014), evilsatan (5th April 2014), neilb (4th April 2014), Northernbloke (4th April 2014) 

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