Thursday 12 April 2018

Aintree - Thursday April 12

Much debate about the condition of the ground, which surprised many by being not dissimilar to the official description on all courses, although it did seem slightly better on the hurdles track to the naked eye.

With not much more rain expected, it'll remain 'softish' for the next two days and seems fine for most apart from those looking for extremes.

Six went to post for the Manifesto Novices Chase and by the off the market could hardly split Cyrname, Brain Power and the well-backed Finian's Oscar.

The former is tall and still looked a little on the weak side...odds are he'll improve again for another summer on his back. It was hard to fathom the support for Brain Power, who hasn't delivered at the top level on several occasions and was never sighted in the Arkle, falling into second place late on. He's not my sort of horse to look at and seems to lack co-ordination, which comes through in his jumping.

Of more interest was Finian's Oscar, who is a seriously good looking, well made animal that could go right to the top if they can iron out his jumping.

Clearly talented, I couldn't back him at revised odds on the back of some iffy fencing thus far and again he was far from foot perfect, but they came back to him going to the last where he produced arguably his best leap of the race.

Rene's Girl is a nice mare at the top of her game, and nearly stole it off the front end, and she's adaptable groundwise so may yet be seen again this spring. Modus isn't a looker and got rather warm.

I didn't take a great deal of interest in the juveniles, where Apple's Shakira was a little on her toes but far from keen, although it was hard to see why she was so short in the betting on the back of what was essentially a blowout at Cheltenham.

Cristal Icon did look too on edge while Malaya again came across as a talented filly.

The prelims were shambolic ahead of the Grade 1 Betway Bowl, several of them having gone to post before Might Bite and Bristol De Mai had even entered the paddock.

There were no great angles to be had, although Tea For Two didn't shine like he had 12 months prior and hasn't had the most enterprising of campaigns considering he doesn't like soft ground; he clearly wasn't in the same form this year.

Supasundae looked in terrific order in a bid to go one better than at Cheltenham but things didn't quite fall right for the hot favourite, who had to bridge the gap between the runaway leader and the rest of the peloton.

The one horse it did suit though was L'Ami Serge, who was delivered perfectly to land a big pot.

There was each-way money for Cyrus Darius, who loomed up at the second last, but was readily left behind and sadly isn't up to this level. I'd have thought they'll continue to mix hurdles and fences from the mark he's on.

The Foxhunters brought together some decent looking animals, many of whom will continue to win races in this sphere. Wonderful Charm didn't take the eye, while Bound For Glory and Eddies Miracle were the smallest by some way.

The Red Rum is always a race I like to get stuck into but it didn't look a strong renewal with Kings Socks one of two or three ahead of the assessor, but the jolly was pulled up and surely went amiss at some stage, which is worrying considering his lengthy absence from the track.

Bentelimar was well-in if faith could be placed in the cheekpieces, while Theinval is definitely weighted to win one of these but was arguably unfortunate to bump into one, the pair 18 lengths clear of Gino Trail, who probably ran right up to his recent form.

Doitforthevillage can go from the front so he wasn't seen to best effect dropped right out, and can win again this spring if dropped in the weights as he has the size and scope to win from around the 140-mark.

There were some nice looking mares in the bumper, among whom was Posh Trish, who caught the eye in a similar race here in the autumn. However, she looked light around the middle and got a bit warm; this wasn't her true running and she'll prove decent in the coming seasons.

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