Aintree 2015: Red Rum Handicap Chase preview (16:40)
Ned Buntline looks to hold major claims of landing the Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree (16:40), judged on an unlucky run at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
This Noel Meade trained gelding was sent off the heavily-backed 4/1 joint-favourite, and was set to provide jockey AP McCoy with victory on his final ever ride at the meeting in the Grand Annual Chase.
The seven-year-old was travelling strongly and creeping into contention when badly hampered four from home, and McCoy did well to stay in the saddle.
It left Ned Buntline with a mammoth task to make up the lost ground but, to his credit, he did so and held every chance in second approaching the last, until being unable to find any extra on the run-in to finish a a 6 1/2 length fourth of 20 to Next Sensation.
In the circumstances it was a cracking effort, and Ned Buntline now meets the winner on 9lb better terms.
Given how the race panned out, that may well enough to see Ned Buntline turn the tables and, with the ground ideal and McCoy once again in the saddle, a huge run looks assured.
Next Sensation has to be a big danger, despite being hit with an 8lb rise for his success in the Grand Annual.
The Michael Scudamore trained gelding bounced back from some below par efforts to score in good style following a breathing operation, and is a tough front runner who is hard to peg back when on-song.
Karinga Dancer is is another interesting contender now returned to handicap company on ground which suits.
The nine-year-old is a dual chase winner, who needs good going to be seen at his best, and ran well on his penultimate start at Cheltenham when third to Sew On Target.
Karinga was then not knocked about following a break when third to Mr Mole in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury last time put on unsuitable soft ground, and it looks as if trainer Harry Fry has saved him with a spring campaign in mind.