The countryside came to town at the home of the Grand National for the first meeting of the season and a slight rejig of the fixtures now meant that this was a stand alone day.
Amongst the activities of Pony rides,Duck displays,Falconry,Hound Parades,Fly casting and Lazer clay pigeon shooting we had a seven race card which had the first Graded chase of the new season,the Old Roan over 2m4f.
Before racing we had three flat races, first up was the Countryside Alliance Charity race over 1m5f, this was won by the 5yo Poor Duke under Andrew German for local trainer Mike Mullineaux.
After this it was the finals of the Charles Owen Pony Races, first of all the 138cm and under division over 6f went to the 11yo mare Push The Button under 13yo Sophie Smith who made it nine from nine despite runner up Churchill not gong away
In the 148cm and under over 1m1f we needed the judge to sort out the finish and in the end it went to the 10yo mare Miss Wonderful under AJ O’Neill.
1.25 Crabbie’s Grand National 2016 On Sale Maiden Hurdle,Class 4,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+
An intriguing race on paper with plenty of possibilities that went to Perform from the Phillip Hobbs yard who was held up early by Richard Johnson and was always going well, taking over before the last hurdle this 6yo went on to score impressively by 2.75 lengths from Knockgraffon in second and another three back to favourite Amercian in third.
Perform was having only his second ever start,he looks a fair type who should go on from this,Knockgraffon was having his first start over timber,he will have his day,American made his first start over here after winning an Irish point and will be better when sent chasing
1.55 Liverpool Horse Show January 2016 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,3m 1/2f,13 flights,4yo+ (0-125)
The judge called a dead heat here with Optimistic Bias and Sykes hitting the line together after a pulsating finish which saw Sykes in front with half a furlong to go but Optimistic Bias rallied under a Pat Cowley drive to just get their but not enough to get all the loot.
Both horses came here in good form,Sykes ran a good second last month over shorter at Newton Abbott,he is going the right way as is Optimistic Bias, I can see these two being types for the Pertemps Series and have plenty of improvement in them, Tantamount back in third ran a PB in a long while but still looks on a high mark.
2.30 Simon and Louise’s Silver Anniversary Veterans’ Handicap Chase,Class 2,3m1f,19 fences,10yo+ (0-150)
A good renewal of this race that brought a big reversal of form from Chepstow a few weeks ago.
Benbens who was comprehensively walloped by Danimix handed his adversary a 38 length thrashing as he could only trail back in sixth place as Benbens under Ryan Hatch gave a top performance to land the spoils in a race run at a generous pace from the outset, midfield early doors he led coming to the final ditch and found plenty in the last furlong.
The Irish duo of Russian Regent and Maggio could not bridge the gap and filled the minor money.
Benbens finished third in last seasons Scottish National,he could come back here in December for the Becher or maybe a trip to Chepstow just after Christmas.
3.00 Molson Coors Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+
Hunters Hoof under Nico de Boinville exploited his make of 130 here as he sleuced up to deny last weekends Kempton winner Work In Progress by a length.
Always in the race he took second at the third last then led on the run in from the last,he stayed the extra trip and looks to better than this,he should easily have more to offer during the season and is going the right way
Work In Progress had a 6lb penalty from last weekend but he is not finished with yet, Box Office back in third has got plenty of good days ahead of him
3.30 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase (Ltd Hcap),Grade 2,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+
First Graded Chase of the season and business as usual for Paul Nicholls here with Sound Investment being just that at 7-1 as he just got the better of last years winner Wishfull Thinking by half a length.
Sound Investment came into this race after a recent pipe opener over hurdles at Chepstow and took a couple of good handicaps at Sandown and Newbury,he looks likely to head to the Paddy Power next month and would have a very good chance as any.
Wishfull Thinking still looks to be enjoying the game at 12 and should have the Peterborough Chase as another target.
Buywise came third staying on,maybe the Sefton in December could suit him as could the fourth Brave Spartacus, Duke Of Navan flattened out up the straight and maybe better back over 2m
Sadly we did lose one in last April’s Topham winner Rajdhani Express who went wrong when landing at the eleventh fence, Comdolences to all connected
4.00 Hampden Agencies Ltd. Novices’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m4f,11 flights,3yo+ (0-115)
A fair race that resulted in an all the way win for Abricot De L’Oasis on his seasonal and new debut for Dan and Harry Skelton, making all he had to be ridden after two out but kept on for pressure from the staying on Silver Shuffle who was half a length second and 1.25 lengths from The Big Dipper.
The winner looks a likeable type and could end up back over fences,Silver Shuffle is consistent but yet to win over jumps, The Big Dipper is still unexposed and a reasonable sort.
4.35 British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 4,2m1f,4-6yo
Quite a good bumper here and one of the trainers of last season Warren Greatrex looks to have a nice filly here in La Bague Au Roi who picked up where she left off last season and made it two from two in bumpers,she looks a top prospect and can make a mark when sent hurdling with the aim of getting some black type.
Runner up Kalaniti improved here despite still being a bit green and was seven lengths behind the winner, Midnight Velvet refused to settle early and maybe the application of headgear can help.
Some nice racing then in Aintree on a nice autumnal afternoon.
No rest for the wicked though as Friday we visit Uttoxeter for some more jumping action.
As for today’s racing it’s time to give a Wattspot for the future
Today I will go for American from Harry Fry’s yard who was third in the opener and can go on to a lot more when sent over further in time.
Until next time Thank You for reading