Friday 5 April 2019

Aintree - April 4

Wet and wild from about an hour before the first race and it was pretty clear that the ground would ride fairly soft from the outset.

There was not a single negative from the paddock the entire day - and believe me I was looking for one - all those that had run at Cheltenham looking in absolutely peak form.

La Bague Au Roi was favourite for the Manifesto but her form has never been great at this time of year and she didn't quite shape up against the geldings this time; she often looks magnificent but on balance was well worth taking on.

The other five looked really well, including Glen Forsa who ran unaccountably badly but has had a longer season than most, while Kalashnikov was on his toes throughout the prelims but two handlers were keeping a lid on him and it was a simple case of a horse raring to go.

The subject of much hype all season, he has been crying out for this trip for more than 12 months and a little turn of foot between the final two fences sealed it - it's clear now these are his prime conditions.

I didn't see anything between a bunch of juvenile hurdlers, Band Of Outlaws not quite as big as I was expecting but still the nicest of them, and it looks like the rain had blunted his speed.

The wet suited Christopher Robin and it came as little surprise to see him hit the places, while Henderson once again appears to have pulled a rabbit from the hat in Pentland Hills, who was very tenacious in victory.

Kemboy isn't much to look at, which is the feeling I got at Cheltenham last season, but he may yet have some strengthening to do and he took the Bowl with any amount in hand under a motionless R Walsh, having met virtually every fence on a perfect stride.

Bristol De Mai looked in terrific order but uncharacteristically lost half a length at many fences, lacking his customary zip, while Clan Des Obeaux doesn't have the substance of some and yet battled on well after being one of the first under pressure.

Buveur D'Air is a little bull of a horse and there was nothing wrong with his appearance, but Supasundae can often get worked up however he was like a coiled spring and looked superb in his coat.

Quite what happened in the Stayers Hurdle we shall never know but he returned to his best under optimum conditions to claim a deserved Grade 1, Ch'tibello running a huge race in third and once again being well placed by connections.

The others looked well bar Summerville Boy, who lacked a bit of condition and clearly had a rushed preparation; they can start again with him in the autumn.

Nothing jumped out at me in the Foxhunter bar Sir Jack Yates, who looked in terrific heart but once again shaped like a non-stayer despite having won twice over 3m in hunters.

There was money around for a few in the Red Rum, I rowed in with the classy Lady Buttons who looked well but she bumped into one here in Moon Over Germany, who bypassed Cheltenham and enjoyed a surprisingly easy time on the lead after Cracking Find crashed out at the first.

Adrrastos was up in grade here and acquitted himself well on ground that became too deep, he looked a little out of his depth in the paddock and not great in his coat so he could one to watch this spring back in calmer waters.

There were plenty of likeable fillies in the bumper and this is race that will throw up untold winners, led home on the day by The Glancing Queen, who has done precious little wrong in her first season.

She's a strong, well-made type who could be really good over obstacles, the pair she beat from Ireland Minella Melody and Daylight Katie both looking really well in their skin.

Whitehotchillifili, Eyes Right, Kissesforkatie and Who What When are among plenty to follow, while Shantewe made up plenty of ground from the rear and would probably appreciate much better ground. 

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