Nico de Boinville: He was the one that got away at Cheltenham and I am hopeful of a very big run here
He ran an excellent race when fifth in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, not beaten far, and the only downside of that performance was that the handicapper has raised him 2lb. As with most of our horses, he will love the decent ground and hopefully there is more to come from him. I am two from two on him so let’s hope we can keep up that 100% strike rate, though this is clearly a very open and competitive race.
He clearly ran a great race when third in the Supreme last time and let’s hope he can follow in the footsteps of Buveur D’Air, who won this race after finishing in the same position at Cheltenham beforehand. He pretty much ran to our expectations in the Supreme but I do think this flatter track will suit him. He must have an excellent chance if reproducing that Cheltenham run and, fingers crossed, he can improve on it as well.
I have schooled, and worked, him since Cheltenham and all was fine. Obviously, he is a horse that grabbed a lot of headlines after his rather unorthodox win in the RSA but you can’t lose sight of the fact of what a great performance he put up there, albeit he only just inched out Whisper in the end. As I said in these columns after the Festival, he was only doing a half-speed around there and he had plenty left in the tank when the loose horse galvanised him back into action on the run-in. He clearly is a horse with quirks, but also of immense potential, and hopefully he will underline his talent here. The entrance to the course is after the finishing post at Aintree, by the way!
This looks a very competitive renewal but I thought Josses Hill ran well for a long way in the Ryanair behind a very impressive winner in Un de Sceaux. Clearly, he will have to up his game to beat the likes of Sub Lieutenant, Champion Chase runner-up Fox Norton and last year’s winner God’s Own but he was an impressive winner of the Peterborough earlier in the season and he won a Grade 2 hurdle here three years ago. He is fresh and well – and I actually think he comes into the race in better shape than he was going into Cheltenham – and he has each-way claims.
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I don’t think a mark of 152 is particularly generous and he was beaten a long way in the RSA last time. But this race is more about taking to the fences and getting into a rhythm rather than handicap marks, and Aidan was very happy with him at Cheltenham, for all he was beaten a long way, and he has schooled well over the National fences at home. With a clear run round I think he could go okay.
This was the one that got away at Cheltenham. He was in the process of running a massive race in the Albert Bartlett when getting knocked sideways 2 out, and the manner in which he finished off his race after that crucial mishap had me wondering what might have been. I really think a flat track will suit him and I am expecting a very big run from him. I haven’t sat on him since Cheltenham but those who deal with him at home tell me they are very happy with him.
I couldn’t believe the price he was at Cheltenham and he ran as well as we thought he would in finishing third. And I thought he bumped into a serious horse when second to Black Op at Doncaster previously. But don’t forget we were giving that horse, who re-opposes today, 7lb there and we were only beaten just over 2 lengths. The only nagging doubt in my mind is that he has had two hard races but he seems fresh and well and you have to give him a leading chance in what is clearly a very competitive bumper.
I will be at the Many Clouds Lambourn Open Day next Friday, 14th April where there is a chance to come and see some of Nicky Henderson’s superstars including Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Might Bite! It is a great day for all the family! More info at www.lambournopenday.com
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