Aintree Reflections

April 9th, 2017 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Following the misfortune and bad luck at Cheltenham, with a host of seconds and thirds at very long prices, normal service was resumed at Aintree last week with a good profit for my clients.

On Thursday my main selection was Double W’s, who had probably found the extended 2m 4f trip beyond him at Cheltenham. I knew from talking to Brain Hughes that he rated the seven-year-old his best prospect of a winner at the Festival, but after running well for a long way he lost his place after jumping the second last in front.

Upon dismounting the jockey told connections that the horse “would win” this race at Aintree – something that I was not aware of until reading about it last week.

Double W’s won here off 149 and will be raised to something in the high 150s after this, perhaps to a mark of 157 or 158. Trainer Malcolm Jefferson is now convinced that the horse is a genuine two-mile specialist, so although he has form over the longer trip I doubt that we’ll see him tackle it again.

By the way I have no idea why the horse drifted out to 8/1 having been backed down overnight to about 4s. He looked fine in the paddock and I heard nothing untoward about him at the track.

By far and away the pick of the paddock on the first day – if not the three days – was Tea For Two.

This imposing son of Kayf Tara looked terrific in his coat and it was no surprise to see him win. Turning for home I thought for a few strides that Lizzie Kelly was not going to get Tea For Two galvanised enough to challenge Cue Card, but in the end she elicited a response and did just enough to hold the runner-up, who was closing again at the finish.

On official BHA figures Tea For Two is rated 12lb inferior to Cue Card, so I’m not sure how the handicapper will respond to this.

Defi Du Seuil landed his seventh successive victory earlier in the day. His talent is beyond question, but he is a fairly unprepossessing individual to look at and I’m not convinced that he will be good enough to beat the likes of Faugheen and Annie Power if they return next year for the Champion Hurdle.

Mount Mews, who was my main selection on Friday, never looked happy to my eyes in the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle on Friday. From an early stage I felt that he was not on song, perhaps attributable to the drying ground as much as anything. In the end he did well to finish second, beating his shorter-priced rivals but not good enough to hold the winner Pingshou, who was probably better suited to the slow pace.

Malcolm Jefferson says he will stay hurdling next season, with the Fighting Fifth a possible target. We will be keeping on the right side of him on softer ground.

On Saturday I was delighted for my colleague Jodie Standing to see One For Arthur win the Grand National. She backed the horse at 100/1 a long time before the weights came out – in fact before he was even certain to get into the race. She stayed loyal to him for the Weekend Card, as indeed I did for our Ante-Post section.

We waited to see him at close quarters after the race and he’s a bonny sort, with a great attitude. He is only eight and I see no reason why he should not be aimed at the race again next season.

Elsewhere on Saturday there were Classic trials happening in Ireland. One thing that became apparent both at Leopardstown yesterday and Naas on Sunday is that Aidan O’Brien is not rushing a few of his better horses. Capri, Promise To Be True and on Sunday Alice Springs and US Army Ranger will all come on from these initial pipe-openers.

Bye for now