There’s lots of dangers in this 30 runner Irish Grand National but I’m very happy with my mount Perfect Gentleman.
He ran a blinder on his last start in the four miler at Cheltenham where he finished fourth to Cause of Causes.
He just got run out of it close home so it appears he’ll get the trip. He’s nicely weighted on 10-10 and it’s a race that seems to suit novices. Hopefully, he’s still a little bit unexposed and will run a big race.
Next Saturday’s Aintree Grand National favourite Shutthefrontdoor was beaten in the same race last year at Cheltenham before going on to win at Fairyhouse. Hopefully that’s an omen.
We’ve always thought there was a big handicap win in Perfect Gentleman’s stable mate Dogora – but it hasn’t happened yet. Finished fourth to Rivage D’Or at Cheltenham in the Cross Country but I don’t think that form is strong enough to win an Irish National.
AP McCoy’s last ride in an Irish Grand National was always going to hog the headlines. It would be some double to win an Irish Grand National and Aintree Grand National in the same week.
While Cantlow isn’t proven over the 3m 5f trip it may be that he needs a stamina test to bring out the best in him.
I still think he has to improve a little to win it though. With AP on board he mightn’t be much value on the day.
If In Doubt:
JP McManus’s other contender was fifth to Don Poli in the Grade One RSA Chase having won a 3m handicap chase at Doncaster. Will find life tough off top weight even with Ger Fox claiming 5lb.
The Job is Right:
Very consistent all season and looks a big each-way player. Was third to Cause of Causes at Cheltenham with Perfect Gentleman 6 lengths behind him.
He’s been placed in the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas and would have been second to Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam in the Thyestes but unseated at the last fence.
Won niccely over 2m 5f an this course on his comeback at the end of January. The Dreaper yard are in good form with their staying chasers and Goonyella won the Midlands National at Uttoxeter a couple of weeks back.
Ran a blinder when second to big Aintree National fancy The Druid’s Nephew at Cheltenham. If he reproduces that run he’ll be bang there on Monday for Henry de Bromhead’s stable.
Lots of Memories:
A decent novice hurdler last year he’s had plenty of experience in graded chases this term and is another novice chaser worth considering. Wouldn’t want it too soft if he’s to show his best though.
Was outpaced on ground ground in this race last year but stays all day and will appreciate every bit of rain that falls.
A good winner of the Cork National and was third in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown just in front of The Job is Right. Despite being a 12-year-old he is still relatively unexposed as a chaser. A strong stayer, he definitely has a chance but Perfect Gentleman did beat him easily at Tipperary.
A very good hunter chaser but I’d find it hard to fancy him. Would have to produce a career best to be involved at the finish.
Won the Cross Country at Cheltenham but I think he’ll have to improve to be involved in the shake-up.
Trained my dad Ted. Disappointed a little in the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham and I’m not sure he’ll get the trip.
Rule the World:
Ran a stinker last Sunday and hard to fancy.
Lion na Bearnai:
Former winner who likes the track and will handle soft ground but at 13 years old is not getting any younger.