THE Grand National is one of my favourite races of the year and it didn’t disappoint with the usual allowance of spills and thrills and, best of all for me, every one of the 40 horses that made the Aintree spectacular so exciting returned home that evening.
The fact that Dr Richard Newland trained the winner Pineau De Re is just another twist in the annals of racing history for the world’s most famous race as tutoring thoroughbred racehorses is not even how he makes his living.
It’s great to see a small handler win Jumps’ racing’s biggest prize despite my selections Lion Na Bearnai being pulled up before the fourth last and Prince De Beauchene only mustering 16th which just goes to show my racing expertise being unable to find one in the top 15 with two selections!
One of the other better performances at Liverpool came from Silviniaco Conti who bounced back to winning ways in the Aintree Bowl with a one and a half length defeat of Ryanair Chase winner Dynaste.
Trainer Paul Nicholls was adamant that his charge could win the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time and he looked to have a very decent chance of that before going left and running green at the last, but this puts him right in the mix again for 2015.
This weekend’s big race at home is the Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday and I’m hoping Tipperary trainer Tommy Stack runs Wannabe Better who can hopefully live up to her name after disappointing as favourite last time at the same venue.
To be fair to the selection, she does always seem to come on a lot for a run having not won on her seasonal debut in either of the two previous seasons that she has raced.
Also while the mile on her last outing would, at first glance, have appeared to be perfect with all three of her career wins having come over that trip, the worst ground that she had previously won on was soft and as it was closer to heavy that day, the Duke Of Marmalade filly might have had a legitimate excuse.
The seven furlongs of Sunday’s contest could be absolutely ideal as if the ground continues to be on the heavy side, she would have a much better chance of staying the distance especially after the previous pipeopener.
I can’t ever remember an Irish-trained horse running at Fontwell, but funnily enough on two consecutive days at Liverpool, two different people told me they had an interest in a Paul Flynn-trained horse running there this Friday. So I will go for Boxer Beat who represents the Longford handler in a novices’ chase as he has won over fences and was considered good enough to run in a couple of graded chases at Roscommon and Tipperary last year.
I doubt if connections are going to Sussex just for a day out and to have a look at the unique figure of eight course.
Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City is required viewing live on Sky Sports 1 and even though I want the Reds to win the title, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that City could win this at current odds of 15-8.
Liverpool were slightly lucky to beat West Ham last Sunday when even if their first goal was a penalty, and while I’m not arguing it was hand-ball by Tomkins, I’m not sure it was deliberate, their second spot-kick was even more dubious with goalkeeper Adrian adjuged to have brought down Flanagan.
Granted the Hammers’ goal was also dodgy, but I’m not certain it’s league winning form to beat West Ham with two penalties anyway.
Friday, 2.20pm, Fontwell - Boxer Beat; Sunday, 1.30pm - Manchester City to beat Liverpool; Sunday, 3.55pm, Curragh - Wannabe Better