I don’t have a ride here but a horse I’ve always really liked is Erne River. On ratings he’s got a bit to find but he’s a progressive horse and he couldn’t have done anymore in his two starts over fences this season. He should be suited to this track and goes on most ground. I fancy him to run a big race.
My first ride of the day is Too Friendly. He ran well in the Boodles at Cheltenham, and I think a flatter track might help him a little bit. He’s got a big task ahead of him, but we would be delighted if he could pick up some prize money. If we get a strongly run race hopefully, he might be able to nick a place.
We won’t know how much Protektorat’s race in the Gold Cup has taken out of him until he runs, but he’s in good form and we haven’t seen any negative signs at home. He hasn’t had a busy season either. He won a Grade One around here last season as a novice and was impressive in the Many Clouds Chase over course and distance in December, so we know loves the track. On his best form he’ll go very close and we’re hopeful of a big run. The one we have to beat could be Kemboy, another horse that loves Aintree. Clan Des Obeaux could also be dangerous as he comes here fresh and wears first-time blinkers.
Brewin’upastorm comes into this race fresh, and this is his ideal trip, so he looks sure to run well. He’s got to take on Zanahiyr and Epatante, though, and that won’t be an easy task. This step up in trip is a big question mark for Epatante, so perhaps Zanahiyr is the one to beat. He was a classy horse as a juvenile and ran a big race when third in the Champion Hurdle last time.
We run Marracudja who has been a really good servant for the yard. The owners are very excited about having a runner over the National fences. This is his first go over them but if he takes to it then he could run a good race. Sometimes with these older horses the big fences just spark them into life. He won a Hunters’ Chase at Leicester last month, so comes into the race in good form. Tristan Durrell takes the ride. I’d definitely give Latenightpass a chance. He missed Cheltenham and has been targeted at this race. He ran very well to be second in this race last year and I think he can go well again.
This race has been in our minds for long time for King D’Argent. He was just touched off at Doncaster last time and has been in good form at home since then. A fast run two miles is going to suit him perfectly and he looks nicely handicapped. There are no negatives with him.
We run two in the Grade Two bumper. These races are very tough to win as they are targeted by lots of trainers, all trying to get valuable black type for their mares.
Kateira was an impressive winner at Huntingdon on her debut and hopefully she can build on that and run well again. Bridget takes the ride on Fancy Stuff, who has to improve on her last run at Southwell. I think she’s a bit better than that though and seems to be in better form now.