Aintree’s final meeting of 2015 which included two races over the famous Grand National spruce on a competitive seven race card.
Weather wise this neck of the woods had took a real battering with wind and rain but a dry Thursday helped to mop up the heavy patches and racing went ahead on ground that was soft.
The feature race was the Grade Three Becher Chase over the big greens with a couple of nice listed races mixed in with some nice but tricky handicaps.
12.00 Betfred Remembers Howard Kendall Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle,Listed,2m1f,9 flights,3yo Fillies
A useful looking contest that went to the Irish trained filly Jer’s Girl who made all and was never headed,despite hitting the last she was always in command and looks to be a fairly useful hurdler in the making, Ten lengths back in second was Forgiving Glance who kept on through beaten horses and just headed stable companion Mystery Code.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell has a nice type here who should gain more black type during the season,she may head of to Leopardstown over the festive period.
12.30 Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+ (0-135)
A competitive little chase albeit one with a sad outcome to it.
Benefit Cut had made most until heading towards the final ditch when he fell at the second last fence,this left last months course victor Bally Beaufort in front after Ryan Hatch had been pushing him along when getting outpaced,he used his stamina to good effect and kept on well to finish nicely ahead of Great Link who was returning from his summer break.
Bally Beaufort had won a novice chase here last month over 3m1f and is clearly better over further,he has potential to be even better, Great Link ran with credit and should win something sooner.
Sadly Benefit Cut paid the ultimate price for his tumble, My condolences to all the connections
1.05 Betfred ‘Scoop6soccer’ Novices’ Hurdle,Class 3,2m1f,9 flights,4yo+
An easy stroll in the Merseyside rain for the Lizzie Kelly ridden Agrapat as he led from pillar to post and left the rest of the fairly useful looking field all appearing to be a little one paced as they tired in the ground
Agrapat has been learning the jumping game well since moving from the flat,his recent second at Ffos Las was a marked improvement and this 4yo looks to have a fair future,a step up in Grade looks likely,maybe Sandown,Warwick or Haydock next month look plausible.
Braavos was tired back in second and over twenty lengths behind,favourite Flying Angel was keen early and couldn’t pick up,a step back up in trip will see him in a better light.
Nobody would have begrudged young Henry Brooke a famous win over the big green monsters here as he steered the Jimmy Moffatt trained 9yo Highland Lodge to victory in a real stamina test,Henry in previous Nationals had been hampered by loose horses when riding Across The Bay a couple of times.
In a high quality renewal this horse off bottom weight was always up there with Saint Are,Dare To Endeavour and Soll in the early stages, After crossing the Melling Road with two to jump Highland Lodge and Vics Canvas began to pour it on as they turned in,over the last Highland Lodge had a two length lead and began to pull away but coming through the elbow he began to have a touch of the Crisp effect,thankfully Dare To Endeavour could not bridge the gap and held on by 2.25 lengths.
We had drama at the elbow as Soll and Financial Climate had a coming together which the stewards had a look at.
Highland Lodge won this off 132 but will need to go up a lot to guarantee a run in the National,he should be allowed to after winning this,we could see him at Haydock for the National Trial in February, Dare To Endeavour ran on and should be back here in April.
A few did disappoint,Unioniste was held up but never featured,he will come on for this, Favourite Algernon Pazham never jumped fluently and unseated at Foinavon,Pineau De Re fell at the second fence and Thunder And Roses made a real hash of the 9th which dented his confidence
2.15 Betfred Lotto “£100k Cash Giveaway” Chase,Listed,3m1f,19 fences,4yo+
Just the four in a tight little race which brought together the 2015 Grand National winner and the 2015 RSA winner.
In truth this four runner field only concerned the two aforementioned winners of Many Clouds and Don Poli.
During the first part of the race Southfield Theatre and Many Clouds cut the early running with Don Poli and Menorah happy to keep behind, down the back on the last circuit Many Clouds began to open a small lead as Southfield Theatre made a few errors, coming to the cross fence Many Clouds had Don Poli behind him with Menorah.
Down to the last and Many Clouds just held sway but on the run in Bryan Cooper galvanised Don Poli and he forged ahead in the last furlong to win by four lengths.
Don Poli looks to be another Gold Cup type and will probably head to Leopardstown over Christmas, Many Clouds ran a fine race in defeat but for him it’s all about the National.
2.45 Betfred “Be Part Of The Action” Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+
Virgilio came back from his summer break and took this very easily,twice a winner in the spring here and at Warwick he made a mockery of his mark of 138,he is still ahead of the handicapper and going places, the rest were struggling behind to land a blow, Un Ace ran a solid race in second,Fort Smith kept on in third and should be kept over timber for the time being.
Lots to like about the winner,he may head to the Lanzarotte at Kempton and will easily jump a fence next season.
3.20 Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m 5f,18 fences,6yo+
Run in the gathering gloom they went a good clip,no doubt to get back in before the light went.
The field were stretched out over Merseyside here here of the eight who completed the course who led home by Benny’s Mist under Liam Treadwell for trainer Venetia Williams, Right up with the speed from the outset he came here with decent course form over these fences and used that to his advantage
Benny’s Mist had October Fontwell scorer Top Cat Henry for company as they took The Chair, going into the country Benny’s Mist was thriving over the fences as he was joined again by Top Cat Henry over Bechers, from there the pair opened up a healthy lead.
Coming into the straight the duo were ahead of Seventh Sky,Fago and Rathlin, after two out Benny’s Mist easily had the race won,Top Cat Henry began to tire and was overtaken for second by Seventh Sky and the staying on Distime back in third.
Benny’s Mist had shown nothing in two runs over conventional fences,he loves the big greens here and will take his chance once again come April, Seventh Sky will no doubt follow him here too.
An intriguing afternoon to say the least,Aintree always brings interesting results and today was no exception.
Christmas is slowly approaching and with that funny weather,hopefully over the festive period we will try to be at a mix of racing and local football.
Fort Smith,a fair third for trainer Sam Thomas in the 2m4f hurdle,he has a nice look about him
Great Link,travelled OK in the 2m4f chase,a drop down to 2m or 2m2f looks likely.
Until next time,Goodbye and keep reading