13.30 Aintree: Wilde about the chances of Blue Yonder
The Alan King trained Wilde Blue Yonder ran a blinder at the Cheltenham Festival and looks to have leading claims of landing this 2m 4f contest.
The five-year-old, who is owned by The Maybe Fools Have Horses syndicate, had some smart bumper form to his name and looked an exciting prospect when winning on his hurdling debut at Newbury.
Things then didn’t go to plan, with the gelding failing to complete in his next two starts.
In the first of those at Newbury he still held every chance when coming to grief at the last, and he then had the race in the bag at Ascot when again failing to negotiate the final obstacle.
He was yet to be asked any sort of question in the latter, and duly showed what he was capable last time out in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle when putting in an eye-catching effort to finish a fine fifth of 18 to Vautour.
The son of Oscar jumped well and travelled strongly into the 2m 1f contest, before keeping on nicely to be beaten 8 1/2 lengths.
That run suggested he was well worth a try over today’s 2m 4f, and he looks the type who is open to bags more improvement and will appreciate this flatter track.
A fast run race is clearly the key to him, and he looks sure to get that here.
The main danger could well be the the lightly raced and unexposed Volnay de Thaix.
The French import won in good style on his first two starts over hurdles after joining Nicky Henderson, and was then sent off odds-on to complete the hat-trick at Ascot.
However, he came up against a smart one in the shape of Irving and went down by six lengths to Paul Nicholls’ charge.
The five-year-old then got back to winning ways when scoring at Newbury last month, and he looks an exciting type who should continue to progress.
His handler also knows what it takes to win this race having won two of the last three renewals with Spirit Son (2011) and Simonsig (2012).