As the stars of National Hunt slowly start to appear for the new season perhaps it is a good time to kick start these musings into life. I don’t have to write them you don’t have to read them so what’s not to like.
Interesting that two of the guys we mentioned last season seem to be heading in the right direction Kevin Brogan is getting some quality rides and won’t be long in losing his claim. Jack Foley has gone back to Ireland after a short spell with Emma Lavelle. He already has 25 winners on board in the new season and has been used a few times by Willie Mullins… definitely a lad going places… Jack not Mullins who has already scaled the heights.
A thought from the Charlie Hall run recently at Wetherby…. I thought Kitty’s Light ran an excellent trial for the Welsh Grand National, but trainer Christian Williams has muddied the waters by also entering the horse for the Ladbrokes Trophy. The five-year-old is around 10/1-12/1 for both races and must go close wherever he turns up.
Ignoring the usual temptation to roll out a string of horses to follow in the months ahead, it is probably sensible for the moment to concentrate on this coming weekend when a couple of decent chases are being run. First up is the Grand Sefton at Aintree quickly followed by the Badger Beer at Wincanton.
Selection – 2:15 Aintree: Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
In the Grand Sefton like most races over the National fences previous experience is always welcome and Jamie Snowden’s 2019 race winner Hogan’s Height catches the eye. Like two years ago he has had a prep run over hurdles to put him straight for Saturday. Without wanting to be a hostage to fortune his twelfth in last years National proves his liking for the track and at around 8/1 he represents good value.
The downside is he’s two years older and off a mark 6lbs higher, but his experience should negate those doubts. Like all the good Saturday chases there are dangers lurking wherever you look, not least two from Ireland and Jonjo’s Time to Get Up who is already amongst the favourites for next year’s Grand National.
1. Hogan’s Height
Selection – 3:00 Wincanton: 60th Badger Beer Handicap Chase
The Badger Beer rarely fails to disappoint, and this year’s renewal looks another tricky contest. The race is usually truly run and the ability to see out the trip is paramount. I had shortlisted Fergal O’Brien’s Hurricane Harvey but at the current odds and not having won over further than three miles there remains a niggling doubt that the extra furlong might just find him out. A distance winner that catches the eye off 10st 6lbs is Innisfree Lad the mount of up-and-coming Rex Dingle and trained by David Dennis. The Dennis family won the race in 1996 with Coome Hill so perhaps … like father like son?
Innisfree Lad is around 25/1 at the moment so obviously comes with a health warning, but a few quid each way on a longshot is less stressful than lumping on a shorty especially over fences. But each to their own.
1. Innisfree Lad
So here’s wishing all participants a safe injury free season … let battle commence.
Have a good weekend.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.