B.F. And F were most certainly BFF’s at Aintree on Sunday as the jockey who lit up the racecourse wherever she went last season,Bryony Frost, teamed up with the Paul Nicholls trained Frodon to put in a bold display of front running to land the seasons first big race of the core National Hunt season the Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase.
Run on good ground in beautiful autumnal sunshine, the Mildmay course at Aintree is always a course to produce thrills and spills and this was no exception as the main market protagonists all came to the fore at the business end but Frodon had runner up Javert and the third placed Cloudy Dream both held in behind and neither could get past on the run in.
This was Frodon’s fifth win in Graded company and he’s an absolute model of consistency at this level, a next possible race could come in the Bet Victor at Cheltenham unless a crack at bigger company at Ascot the week after, 2m5f is his best trip at the moment but it’s not to say a step up to three miles will occur at some point as he’s only a 6yo.
Javert ran a fine race in behind for second and this lightly raced sort will be placed to good effect while Cloudy Dream continues to frustrate on his first start for Donald McCain, he jumped a bit in and out at times but finished ok and could be better upped in trip with a return back here in December for the Many Clouds Chase an almost cast iron possibility but for now he remains one to back with caution.Elsewhere on a decent looking card Henry Daly and Richard Johnson gave Trevor Hemmings the opening winner of the day with Stoney Mountain opening his account in the 2m4f Maiden Hurdle, in a race which may well work out nicely he managed to fend off Aye Aye Charlie who started odds on but is still awaiting that elusive first win over hurdles, Stoney Mountain is a progressive type who should scale bigger heights. Emma Lavelle had a nice winner on the day with Paisley Park who came back from his summer break and routed a decent looking field in the feature 2m4f Hurdle race, keeping good novice form last season he made good use of his mark of 140, it is worth nothing the two flights up the straight were bypassed here but that’s not to say he wouldn’t have won anyway, a step in grade looks likely now and maybe a pop at the Ascot Hurdle may be the answer but there is a conditions hurdle back here in a fortnight over the same course and distance that may be the next race for him.
In the 3m1f Handicap Chase for the senior citizens, Exitas came home pretty easily to continue his good form that has kept him in good stead this season, having his third start in October he landed this very readily like he was a horse half his age, trainer Phil Middleton might just be eyeing up a crack at the Badger Ales after this and it wouldn’t be a bad idea as he’d be a more than lovely chance in that.
Lastly in the 3m1f Novices’ Handicap Chase we had a very appropriate winner on Lamb National as the mare Molly The Dolly made a winning debut over fences as she scooted home in impressive style holding off the attentions of Traditional Dancer towards the end, rated 127 she looks a step ahead of her mark and can improve throughout the season over staying trips.
So the jumps season is now up and running properly and Aintree as per usual put on a good show on its annual Countryside Day with a good heart crown in attendance.
This upcoming weekend the roadshow moves from Merseyside and heads across the M62 and up the A1 to Wetherby for the two day Charlie Hall Chase meeting.