Haydock Park,Jockey Club Grassroots Final Day,Saturday 30th March 2013

The last full jumps fixture of the 2012/13 season at Haydock today with the exception of the mixed Swinton Hurdle meeting in May and on paper it looked a very competitive card on this Easter Saturday and with Aintree just around the corner it was the big stables lesser lights who had the chance to get themselves a big payday and get noticed on what was a day with sun but still that little bit of cold from the last throws of winter. 

Today was also a family raceday with this being the Easter bank holiday weekend but thankfully all that was kept down in the Newton Stand so those of us who where their purely for the racing were not going to be annoyed by the entertainment laid on for the families who want a different kind of day at the races. 
The first race of the seven was the long distance Tim Molony Handicap Chase over 3m4f with twelve going to post and four of them had course form going into it and so it proved vital as previous course and distance winner Monsieur Cadou recorded a 10l victory from King Fontaine who was putting in a seasonal best on his fourth start of the campaign,back in third was Handy Andy who has only won three times all of them at Newbury but ran a fair race, The winner is a quality stayer and could be aimed at the Welsh National or Becher Chase next season and has the ability to run well in the National next season should he be aimed for it. 
Second race was a 2m4f Handicap Hurdle and was the final of the Jockey Club Grassroots Series Final for Hurdlers, just the nineteen for this and like last year it went to trainer Brian Ellison who again was mob handed with five and he took this with the 7yo Fleet Dawn who certainly benefitted from the crashing fall that Landscape took at the last flight of hurdles when getting involved with the finish and In turn brought down Cloudy Bob who was right behind with nowhere to go but down, this left Fleet Dawn who held on in a battle Master Benjamin up the run in to just hang on and collect the £24765 prize for first place, The Ellison yard also took third money with Mubrook who ran well on his first start over this longer trip and is worth keeping an eye on. 
All horses who fell in that race got up safely. 
Third race was the Levy Board Handicap Chase over 2m4f and a really good quality field went to post for this, After a poor show at the Cheltenham Festival it was a confidence boosting win for the Paul Nicholls stable with 6yo Cedre Bleu getting the prize in a pulsating finish with three in line at the last of the fifteen fences to hang on from the gallant mare Pepite Rose by the shortest of short heads in second with Cloudy Too who has been mentioned in previous reports this season back in an honourable third  This was a cracking finish and worth the entry fee alone, The winner took an Ascot Graduation Chase in December and after that fell at Chepstow so was having his first start in 84 days and was given a cracking ride by last years Grand National winning jockey Daryl Jacob and he must have had Deja Vu from twelve months ago as his mount held on to claim the loot, Pepite Rose is a lovely mare and deserves a big race and Cloudy Too is still improving and could be aimed at the Ayr or Perth festivals with another go at Three Miles next season being a distinct possibility. 
As for the winner he battled and fought tooth and nail up the run in and being a 6yo still has lots of racing in him. I can imagine the Paddy Power being an early season target and may be even better going up to Three Miles as time progresses.  
Fourth contest and it was a 2m6f Handicap Chase which was the steeplechase part of the Jockey Club Grassroots Series Final which went to the Northampton yard of Caroline Bailey with her stable star the 6yo Noble Legend under Andrew Thornton who was already a course winner over two furlongs shorter back in October and warmed up recently with a win at Southwell and fought off the attentions of veteran Patsy Finnegan to win by 5l with Frontier Spirit back in third place. The favourite Balinroab was back in seventh and struggled under his 10lb higher rating for his recent win at Leicester, Noble Legend is a nice horse and the ideal type that a smaller stable needs during the season to take on the Henderson and Nicholls horses and will no doubt be back at Haydock next season maybe in a Peter Marsh Chase should he get a nice weight but before that could be Grand Sefton bound at Aintree 
It was a Novices Handicap Hurdle next over the Fixed Brush Hurdles with a distance of 2m4f to cover for race five and in the week that Imperial Commander begins his a Grand National preparations it was trainer Nigel Twiston Davies who finally got Oscar Magic to win after three second places this season with son Sam on top in a driving finish to see off Valleyofmilan in second and back in third was Bathwick Brave who was given a typical tough ride from AP McCoy but could never get past the first two, Oscar Magic had ability but has found one too good in his three starts prior to this but showed his metal on his handicap debut and could make into a fair chaser next season. 
Race six was the smallest field of the day in the 2m Novices Chase and an all the way victory for Dare Me who was backed into favouritism following the defection of Kandari to win fairly easily in the end from Shadows Lengthen who was giving the winner 4lbs at the adjusted weights as jockey Jake Greenall took 3lbs off with his claim but even on level terms he would not have beaten Dare Me who was the better horse throughout the race and it will be interesting to see what the handicapper does to him. 
The final race of the day was one I couldn’t see due to a later engagement but it was a Bumper over 2m and a much welcome winner for the Donald McCain yard who have some serious chances in next weekends Grand National with the 5yo Salto Chisco who came into the race with two second places so deserved to go one better today beating Jean de Florette by 3l, The winner looks nice enough and will be one to follow when going over timber next season and could become one of their leading novices. 
So a good end to Haydock Parks jumps season which saw some cracking races as always with highlights being Silviniaco Conti getting the big pot in the Lancashire Chase and Well Refreshed taking the Grand National Trial.  
We did lose just the two fixtures but with the weather being largely wet and cold since November it is expected as that’s the unpredictability with jumps racing. 
So now the roadshow moves down the East Lancs Road to our sister course Aintree and I shall be there for the first two days of the Grand National meeting for what looks like being some of the best jump racing the course will have seen for a very long time, Their may be no Big Buck’s but Sprinter Sacre will be an able deputy for what looks like one of the races of the season should he do battle with Flemenstar and Cue Card in the Melling Chase on Friday. 
Before that their will be a preview on Monday, Bye until then. 


Haydock Park,Molson Coors Raceday,Wednesday 20th March 2013

A cold midweek afternoon was the order of the day as racing fans in particular National Hunt racing enthusiasts go through the mixture of the post Cheltenham blues and the build up to the Grand National at Aintree in around two and a half weeks, Their is the start of the turf flat at Doncaster but that often is a damp squib as it never really gets going till the Craven meeting at Newmarket and don’t even bother to ask them about the Arabian sports day that occurs at Meydaan racecourse in Dubai. 

Seven races were lined up for today with good prize money but fields were lacking in numbers but size is not everything in racing and the crowd today were treated to a nice afternoons sport. 
Race One was a 2m4f Novices Handicap Chase with just four runners but it was in the early stages when the short priced favourite Zaru who normally prefers to bowl along made a slow jump at the third fence and began to get overtaken which made him sulk and he dropped right back,approaching fence five he was not interested but Brian Hughes gave him a boot into it to which Zaru promptly crumpled on landing and handed the initiative to Eyre Apparent who was leading with him early doors until the fall then all AP McCoy had to do was steer him around which he did and kept him up to his work to land the spoils for Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell, A reasonable and likeable sort he will probably end up being aimed at a race at the Perth Festival which would be his level. 
The Second Race of the day and again just four lined up for a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f with £8668 to the winner and the betting was split between recent course winner Seymour Eric and Thunderstorm who were both unbeaten this season winning four and five races respectively but none of the two featured as Crowning Jewel was giving father and son Keith and James Reveley a nice winner after taking up the running after the last flight and seeing off Rock Relief by 2.5 lengths to give the North a 1-2,Thunderstorm was held up throughout and struggled to pick up but may bounce back and Seymour Eric is a lot better over three miles,Take nothing away from the winner though he is a real toughie and full of heart. 
Third Race was the Haydock Park Annual Badgeholders Chase over 3m and again just the four turned up for this 0-115 event and a nice winner for Chris Grant here with the 8yo mare Overyou putting up a dour staying performance to see off Sandynow under a canny ride by conditional Diarmuid O’Regan who looks a useful rider with his ten pound claim and I can see a good few other trainers taking advantage of that during the upcoming year, These were the only two to finish as On Broadway unseated four fences from home and Knight Woodsman had the early bath after being detached a long way back. The winner is a hard working mare and may end up having a crack at either the Highland or Durham Nationals next month. 
Eight lined up for the Fourth Race a Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle over 2m and Red Inca from the Brian Ellison yard who have won a fair few races here over the last few seasons fought off a good challenge from Softsong to get the better of him by 1.75 lengths with Kudu Country who made most of the running battling on for third, This race was a qualifier for the Jockey Club Grassroots Jumps Series and while the top three might not be back for the final on Easter Saturday I think Ultimate another Brian Ellison horse who finished fifth may be back as the final over 2m4f will suit him a lot better. 
The Fifth Race on the card was a 2m4f Handicap Chase and a Class 2 one which would not look out of place on a Saturday card here and it was a recapturing of winning ways for McMurrough who won two races in December but put in two bad ones straight after with the first time blinkers found his way into the spot that matters which is number one,Quincy de Pictons came out of the pack to challenge but needs dropping a few more pounds before regaining the winning thread. 
The penultimate event was the Whizz Kids Fixed Brush Novices Hurdle over 2m4f, Whizz Kids is a charity which helps to provide mobility equipment for disabled children and in the racecard Double Paralympic Gold Medalist Hannah Cockroft who flew home in the T34 100 and 200 meters at London 2012 Paralympics endorses this in the advert saying how it gave her the start so this is a charity with real heart and they have a website at http://www.whizz-kidz.org.uk/
Onto the race itself and recent Chepstow winner Annacotty made it two on the bounce in what was a good looking race on paper but Brave Spartacus set a strong pace but began to fade at the top of the home straight and Annacotty who was handy took the lead after the last and defeated 200-1 rank outsider Nowdoro by 8 lengths, Their was a few disappointments in the race most notably Moss Cloud from the Donald McCain yard whose horses are going through a lean spell at the minute but will learn a lot from this run and even though he finished tenth of the eleven is not one to write off yet. 
So the final event of the day was a Bumper over 2m and a field of Seven faced the starter which stood still about 15-30 seconds after the tapes got released and it was Richard Johnson who took the initiative on Royal Regatta and made all the running on this 5yo whose only other race was when being pulled up in a Point to Point in Ireland around a year ago but will be interesting watch when being put over hurdles next season, Back in second and 12 lengths in second was debutant Operatic Heights who pulled hard but will learn from this experience with back in third Goohar who was up in trip and still has plenty of ability. 
So a nice afternoon at Haydocks penultimate jumps meeting of the season with the final one being on Easter Saturday with the finals of the Jockey Clubs Grassroots Jumps Series and the Tim Molony Chase.  
Horse Racing is not just all about the big festivals and super Saturdays but the quiet and enjoyable midweek meetings which draw a totally different crowd and today was a day for just enjoying the sights and sounds of National Hunt racing and with the hustle and bustle of Aintree just around the corner this was a pleasant way to pass the calm before the storm. 

Cheltenham Afterthoughts.

National Hunt racing can be a beautiful sport to watch but also it can be so bloody heartbreaking at times and this years Cheltenham Festival certainly brought so many emotions through it that you could be forgiven for thinking the gods were doing their best to send you running to the nearest asylum and beg to be locked up for your own sanity. 

Racing wise it was what the doctor ordered after months of suffering this awful weather that cancelled meetings up and down the country with a few Saturdays being meaningless as it meant that the only viable betting option was to be on that non green surface they race on at Kempton and Lingfield when we are devoid of jumpers, it got so bad at one point that the only good jumpers I was seeing were in shops when I saw boxed sets of The Killing with the photo of character Sarah Lund even though I have never watched a single episode in my life. 
Thankfully though the festival arrived albeit just but special praise had to go to the officials for covering the course up with black frost covers that made it look like a motor racing circuit from the air but this ensued that the most important four days of the year went ahead even though it meant a later start on the first day and the Cross Country Chase went off two days later on Thursday. 
I have been to Cheltenham before but never to the Festival,even on the non festival days when you go you can sense the history of the place and your memory reminds you of all the brilliant races seen over the years from the gritty determination of Desert Orchid to Wednesday and the brilliant and dominating performance of Sprinter Sacre the new kid on the block. 
From the confines of work I was wired up to 5 Live with strict instructions for nobody to talk to me in the afternoon and from the first Roar that starts the Festival like the Olympic flame lighting the start it was Go Go Go as a certain Murray Walker used to say. 
The races came and the mighty horses and their brave jockeys took to the track to find out who would be the best of the best at this most iconic of sporting venues,much like Lords,Twickenham,Wimbledon,Aintree and Silverstone it is where you get remembered for what you won and into the Cheltenham history books went Quevega,Hurricane Fly,Simonsig,Sprinter Sacre,Solwhit,Cue Card and on Friday it was Bobs Worth who took the biggest prize in jumps racing,Yes the Grand National may be the most valuable in money alone but that is a Grade Three Handicap wheres the Gold Cup is level weights and it may have a much smaller field but they are the best of a generation and sadly only one is what it takes to go into the converted number one section of the winners enclosure marked “1st”. 
But for all the great their is also the bad and the unlucky,straight after the Gold Cup it was the Foxhunters Chase and in a crowd of 63,000 jockey Jane Mangan felt like the loneliest person in the world,victory is in the bag as Oscar Delta leading over the last of the twenty two fences was leading and being kept upto his work and as the sight of the winning post was slowly looming it was taken away from her in a cruel way as the horse jinked and unshipped her to the floor as last years winner Salsify took the crown again for the second year on the bounce. 
No doubt the media hounded the poor lady with the obvious questions such as “How does that feel” and “What must you be thinking” but who would want to talk to anyone after that happening to them. 
Thursday though was the day when everyone connected with racing got brought down to earth with a shuddering halt. 
In the Byrne Group Plate a horse called Mathui who I saw win at Haydock one Easter a few years ago take a crashing fall at the last fence, the vets spent around an hour on him but sadly it was all in vain as he sadly had to be euthanised and make that solitary trip up to Horsey Heaven to meet ex racers in the big paddock in the sky. 
The race after that was their was an even more awful event as the runners set off for the Kim Muir Chase and they approached the first fence Galaxy Rock took a fall which sent his amateur rider JT McNamara crashing to the floor, the on course doctors were immediately and attending to him such is the high quality of medical and veterinary services that racing has on course. 
JT had to be air lifted by the Air Ambulance services which shockingly does not receive any government funding and in this day and age it is still a crime that this is still happening and has been placed in an induced coma and operated on in a Bristol hospital. 
Friday all the riders thoughts were with JT and celebrations were kept to a minimum as somehow it felt wrong such is the togetherness of the weighing room and the dangers known by them which sets them apart from the namby pambyism of footballers who can fall down at slightest of touches when on the pitch.  
So with JT in the thought of all in racing we leave the Cheltenham Festival for another year but soon in a few weeks we will have the Grand National thrust upon us and as a North West born and bred person for me this is the main event of the season but more about that when it gets closer. 
As I said before horse racing like many things in life has its ups and downs but its the sheer love of the sport that keeps us all following it from the summer meetings with a nice glass of something cool to having a welcoming hot chocolate in the cold winter months seeing horses flying over birch and timber. 
For this racegoer I shall be back on course this week with trips to my local Haydock Park then on Saturday it will be Bangor on Dee just over the Welsh Border, the quality may not be the same as Cheltenham but hopefully it will be easier to find winners. 
Keep the faith and thanks as always for reading. 

Cheltenham Festival 2013

So the Cheltenham Festival 2013 is nearly here,all the prep work by the course has almost been done in the way of erecting portable stands for the racegoers,extra spaces for the various media outlets who turn up for the four days,Hospitality which brings in lots of revenue,Various food and drink outlets to keep the masses fed and watered,All hotels will ne full to bursting,Nightclubs and Pubs will be getting warehouses built to store the beer,Celebs shall be making sure they have enough Tweed to be seen in and in Ireland the airport and ferry terminals will be getting ready for the mass exodous.

The turf at this moment covered in frost covers to protect it from the elements that the current weather forecasters are predicting,I’m not really religious but please God keep the nasty elements away from Gloucestershire.

The festivals in racing are unlike anything else that you will see especially the big four which are Cheltenham,Aintree,Epsom and Royal Ascot, the true racing fans love these as it brings the best horses,jockeys and trainers from all over but it’s not just horses trained in the UK as Ireland also get ready to do battle and no more so over this next week will it be more fierce than at Cheltenham which is simply jump racings Olympics albeit without Opening and Closing Ceremonies and various music bands doing their latest album plugs.

Now most online previews will no doubt give you a few tips as what to back but I am not a fan of that as I much prefer to use my own judgement when I’m assessing each race when the decs come out and I can get ready to do my yearly traditions of phoning my bookmaker with whom I have an account with yet only use it for Cheltenham,another one is making sure my little digital radio is charged up so I can listen to 5Live at work and try not to go OTT if I back a winner.

The past few years I have made a profit,not much as I am not a big punter,for me £5 is my on course limit but maybe £10 if I am confident aka Moscow Flyer in his first Melling Chase at Aintree. Last year was horrendous for me as I only got one winner in Big Buck’s and during the week I won two tickets for the Midlands National at Uttoxeter but after the Friday I was not really keen to go after taking a pounding but managed to get to the course and flog them to a tout in the car park for £20 which I promptly used to watch Crewe v Swindon.

This years festival has a good look about it ,for me the 2012 one was not a vintage but the quality on show for 2013 is what this sport is all about as their are horses with huge reputations going in but will the old saying “Pride comes before a fall” be relevant after racing has been done.

Of course this year will have a few horses missing such as Kauto Star who has begun a new life in dressage,Denman now retired and the mighty Big Buck’s who would have lifted the stands from the foundations had he won a record Fifth World Hurdle but sadly this year is out injured.

Yet we now face new questions,Can Hurricane Fly regain his Champion Hurdle crown of Rock on Ruby?,is Simonsig going to fend off Overturn in the Arkle,Will you take the odds on Sprinter Sacre?or as i will be doing looking for good Each Way value,Can Cue Card fly home in the Ryanair Chase?,Who will be the new World Hurdle hero?,Is Long Run going to regain his Gold Cup or can Silviniaco Conti continue his huge rise through the ranks and will the North take it with Cape Tribulation?

This is one of the great things going into a big festival we simply do not know,The races are run on the course and not on paper and while the bookies could potentially take a real hiding from the punters they could also travel in First Class on their holidays if the so called “Dead Certs” get turned over and it is possible in racing,nothing is that simple in this sport.

Also the difference in the racing is noted from the opening roars of the Supreme Novices then the ins and outs of the Cross Country,The younger jockeys with their chance to shine In the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle and finally the true Corinthian spirit of the sport with the three races for amateur riders with the premier race being the Foxhunters which is straight after the Gold Cup over the same course and distance,this race will have a much bigger field and the finish will be amazing but it is one of the races that makes the festival and without it the meeting would be that little bit poorer.

So over this Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday and Friday lets enjoy this wonderful spectacle from one of sports most scenic settings and see the very best that National Hunt racing has to offer,It will be emotional and make you feel happy then sad and probably get you frustrated if your selection does not hack up as you were probably told it would do.

Spring is slowly arriving and this week is one of the best in the calendar yet while ITV will be showing Barcelona v AC Milan on Tuesday evening I will be concerned about what will win Wednesdays Four Miler, Yes it is Festival time so lets enjoy and wish all horses and jockeys a safe trip round and hope they all come home in one piece.

Doncaster Races,Grimthorpe Chase Day,Saturday 2nd March 2013

Quite unusually the sun was out today for a seven race card on Town Moor where it was the last jumps meeting of the season before the return of the turf flat in a few weeks time when races such as the Lincoln and Brockelsby will be a welcome return for non jumps and artificial surface racing fans. 

Today the emphasis with Cheltenham slowly on the horizon was Aintree and a good Grand National trial with some lovely supporting races on the undercard, Special praise must also go to the Doncaster management for starting the card at 1.15 due to problems over the past few years since the rebuild with the low sun that occasionally made obstacles being omitted in the later races so thankfully nothing like that occurred this afternoon. 
So on to the racing and we began with the first race which was a 3m Novices Chase for horses that had not won more than one chase with a field of only Three,All eyes were on Themilanhorse on his debut run over fences from the Paul Nicholls yard and went off at odds of 4/7 f and he was never travelling on this firmer surface plus he made a few errors and came home last but should not be written off just yet, The winner with this being a three runner race was the outsider Night Force who by making all the running and jumping fluently gained his second ever career win on what was only his 12th start so is very lightly raced but at the age of 10 would probably be one to keep an eye on if he goes in a satellite National somewhere but he loved the much faster surface, Back in second was Fill The Power who I have alluded to before in previous reports would be better aimed for a race like the Scottish National. 
The second race was the inaugural running of a Listed Mares Novices Hurdle over 3m and again only three runners due to the defection of Ma Filluele took the gloss off this race but the prize was still their to be had along with some useful black type for when a trip to the paddocks is called for, This race was won by the 6yo Tweedledrum who regular readers know was second on my previous visit to Wetherby, She had to battle to get the better of Wilde Ruby who made most of the running but it was evident that class would tell in the end and trainer Tom Symonds will be delighted with the continual improvement with this lovely mare who is very tough and genuine in the way she races.  
After a couple of long distance races it was the more speedier sorts with a fair looking 2m H’cap Chase and a wonderful display of front running from the grey Toubab who lumped top weight of 11-12 to fend off Ulysses Collonges by 1 length and giving the runner up 18lbs, Toubab has always had the potential but sometimes struggled to show just how good he can be and being allowed to bowl along helped today, I hope he misses Cheltenham and goes for the Red Rum Chase at Aintree as that course will suit his style a lot better, The runner up is no back number but will be better over 2m4f but on this run I think the handicapper may be putting him up a few pounds but he is only Five and can have a good career ahead of him as the years progress. 
The fourth was also the feature race the Grimthorpe Chase over 3m2f and a good few were using this as a preparation run before the Grand National next month at Aintree, all eyes were on Join Together from the Nicholls yard after his cracking run when finishing second in the Becher Chase over the big greens back in December behind old warrior and the now retired Hello Bud, That race was on very heavy ground and today’s much firmer surface would not have been to his liking, However course form does count at Doncaster and the crowd were treated to a fine front running display from Quentin Collonges who apart from hitting the last put up a wonderful display of jumping to give Henry Daly a nice big winner and just held off Mr Moss by half a length who was staying on really well up the Town Moor home straight,Both horses are expected to go to Ayr for the Scottish National where they would be in the mix after this run. 
As for Join Together he got hampered by the fall of Night in Milan at fence number three which relegated him to last place where he stayed before being pulled up turning for home,Aintree will be his target so I would not write him off yet as that as the National has always been the big race for him to be aimed for and expect their to be a little bit left to work on between now and the 6th of April. 
Next up was a Handicap Hurdle over 3m which was all about one horse in my eyes and that was Aaim To Prosper a former dual Cesarewitch winner and he won the 2012 renewal had Countrywide Flame and Tominator back in second and third so with ATP having his first run in a handicap off a rating of 124 he was thrown in as far as I could tell especially going up in trip to 3m, He did win as I’d expected however it was not all plain sailing as the wonder that is Tony McCoy got Cockney Trucker at the age of 11 to try and almost spoil the party after being held up in the first part of the race slowly shook the others off and was even in the lead after the last on the run in however Ruby Walsh who knows a thing or two about quality stayers would no be denied and to the roars of the South Yorkshire faithful got ATP into the winners circle by a neck in a rousing finish that showed National Hunt racing at its absolute best. The winner will probably end up at one of the festivals but I also wonder if his trainer Paul Nicholls may be tempted with him on the flat in the summer? 
Race six was a 2m3f Novices Hurdle and due to the faster ground this had four no runners but the five who began all came from top yards, The pace was slow hence why four of them all lead at some point in the contest but the only horse who didn’t share the early pace was Massini Lotto from John Quinn’s stable who have a live Champion Hurdle chance with Countrywide Flame in a few days time, These weren’t the best horses in this field so the form should be treated with caution although Thimaar back in fourth for the Donald McCain yard now qualifies for handicaps so will be worth keeping an eye on his rating in the future but maybe a race at the big Scottish festivals at Ayr and Perth could be more up his street. 
So the finale and last race of the 2012-13 NH season on Town Moor was a Standard NH Flat Race over 2m and punters went home happy as Avidity ran out a nice ready winner on his second start for trainer Pip Kirby, Only a 4yo he showed lots of heart to beat debutant Solo Jugadores by 1.25 lengths in a cracking finish, The winner looks pretty good and could well be sought after by the more prestigious trainers but the smaller stables need a good horse and he could be one to watch out for in early season novice hurdle events around the northern circuit after his summer holiday, One eye catcher was Beaujolais from John Ferguson’s base in Newmarket who finished fourth and needed the run, This ex pointer brought over from Ireland has quality about him and will show more when he gets asked to jump again. 
A nice end to the jumps season at Doncaster then with some good quality racing and a few Aintree clues spotted on the day itself, Weather wise it was lovely this afternoon the sun made a fair crowd turn out, Not the biggest by the courses standards but the jumps never really draw a huge amount compared to the flat which starts the week after Cheltenham it’s hard to even believe that Turf 2013 is slowly coming around. 
We were treated to some wonderful finishes and the Aaim To Prosper battle with Cockney Trucker was a real treat to see with two brilliant horsemen showing why we all love this sport which follows.