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AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL MEETING – DAY ONE
AINTREE 2:55 AHOY SENOR 11/4
If he hadn’t fell at Cheltenham, I believe AHOY SENOR would have gone close to winning the Gold Cup. At the time of his departure, Lucinda Russell’s 8-year-old was traveling like a good one. Moreover, he had been jumping for fun, and he had many of the others were off-the-bridal. While I can’t be fully conclusive, it felt like the one that had gotten away!
For today’s race, Derek Fox is being replaced by Brian Hughes. Getting the champion to ride is a good thing, and so is the small field. His jockey should be able to dictate the pace, and getting an uncontested lead will take the pressure off his jumping.
The 8-year-old is 2 for 2 at Aintree, and one of those wins was over this course and distance. Finally, conditions should be ideal, and there won’t be any excuses!
As for the enigmatic SHISHKIN, the 12 times winner is rated 7 pounds superior to the selection. However, his jumping is a big cause for concern, and he will need to treat these fences with more respect. While the 9-year-olds stamina shouldn’t be an issue, the extra distance means more fences to jump.
To cut a long story short, a good round of jumping will make him hard to beat. Nevertheless, he’s got something to prove and he would be better suited by a galloping track.
Unfortunately, the Paul Nicholls’ trained BRAVEMANSGAME is out of the contest. The Financial Conduct Authority intervened after one of the gelding’s owners went into administration.
On official ratings, A PLUS TARD (175) is the best horse in the race. However, since winning last year’s Gold Cup, Henry De Bromhead’s 9-year-old was pulled up twice. Based on recent efforts, he’s the one with the most to prove.
CONFLATED and GO LAW are assured of some prize money, but it’s unlikely to be first prize.
In summary, while I might be suffering from delusion, the son of DYLAN THOMAS is my idea of a top bet. This race is nicely set up, and he ticks all the right boxes.