Another Walk For Mill
Let there be no doubt that the Aintree Factor really does exsist as Walk In The Mill broke history by becoming the first dual winner of the Becher Chase as just like last year under James Best he romped to victory over these famous green spruce fences.
A quality field lined up for this Grade 3 staying test which was run at a good clip as you would expect for a race of this nature and Walk In The Mill sat in the pack of the early exchanges before picking up the lead at the second last from where James Best simply kept him up to his work, he relishes these fences and will be in the shake up come April.
Runner up Kimberlite Candy ran a very sweet race back in second place staying on all the time under Richie McLernon, expect him to be laid out for the National too as he would have a great chance and should get a fair weight when they get announced come February.
Johnson Sails Away On River
Native River began his campaign in what became nothing more than a glorified schooling session in the end as he had a a gentle Saturday afternoon potter around the Mildmay course to land the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase.
Over the first three fences with old adversary Might Bite it looked like we were due a proper repeat of the 2018 Gold Cup, sadly at the fourth fence he decided to shove Nico De Boinville out the side door which left Native River plenty clear from Black Corton and Outlander who had their own private battle as he sauntered home by 33 lenghts.
This was a nice confidence boost for Native River who could head to Chepstow now but also if the ground at Cheltenham came up very soft then we could have a new version of Kauto v Denman if he were to take on Lostintranslation in the Gold Cup then a return to Aintree for the National in which he would carry top weight no doubt is also the main reported target.
Might Bite does need a confidence race now, you couldn’t rule out a return to hurdles maybe with his hurdle mark of 148 quite exploitable if the correct race is found.
Hogan The Hero
Jamie Snowden’s horses continue in great form and Hogan’s Height certainly reached new heights by landing the other race over the big greens, the Grand Sefton Chase.
Fourteen went to post and he jumped away nicely staying in the pack before making headway across the Melling Road to swoop around the outside to over the second last from where he increased his lead and ran away a very impressive winner.
Fair to say that April’s Topham Trophy will be his main target from here as he seemed to enjoy this test and although that race can be slightly classier than this one, he does have that Aintree factor which is always worth a few pounds extra.
Best Of The Rest
Jockey Tom Cannon had a day to remember with three winners, most notably with Hogan’s Height but also with Midnights’ Gift who won the 3yo Fillies’ Listed Hurdle after taking full advantage from challenger Galice Macalo crashing out at the final flight of hurdles.
Already successful at Fakenham on her hurdling debut she looks a useful recruit to jumping and with a flat rating of 78 means she could be one to mix the codes when the bad weather comes, Galice Macalo showed good improvement and despite the fall has a good future too for the Jane Williams team.
Finally Carlisle’s loss was Aintree’s gain with the Listed Houghton Mares’ Chase being transferred from last Sunday’s abandoned meeting and Nicky Henderson will have been delighted with Casablanca Mix running out a ready winner here over the 2m4f trip to supplement her Summer Plate win back in July, despite being a bit unsettled in the early part she served up the good when needed, time between races in essential for her but another black type win will been very much welcome here