16.15 Aintree: Beat That ready to call the tune
A decent renewal of the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, and the unexposed Beat That looks the one they all have to beat.
The Nicky Henderson trained gelding created a big impression when sauntering clear to beat Champagne West by 10 lengths on his hurdling debut at Ascot, and then looked unlucky not to follow-up at Sandown when last seen in action.
Six-year-old Beat That cruised into contention two from home in the latter, and looked all over the winner until making a bad mistake at the last which stopped him in his tracks.
He kept on to be beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Killala Quay, but there is little doubt that he would have collected if he hadn’t fluffed his lines at the final flight.
It was an effort which suggested that he was an exciting prospect who needed keeping on the right side, and he remains open to bags more improvement.
The step up in trip to 3m 1f should also suit, and it looks significant that Barry Geraghty has chosen him overt stable companion Tistory who was himself a very impressive winner last time out.
Beat That’s main danger is undoubtedly Seeyouatmidnight, who has the strongest form in the book of any horse in the line-up.
Sandy Thomson’s gelding has won all his three starts over hurdles, showing improved form with each outing.
He thrashed one of today’s rivals Racing Pulse by nine lengths over 3m 1f at Mussleburgh on his penultimate outing, and then took the step into Grade 2 company in his stride when beating Mickie by 1 1/4 lengths at Haydock back in February.
The six-year-old is a tough front runner who may yet have more to offer, and is likely to take some pegging back if handling the quicker ground that he now encounters for the first time in his career.