Grand National Festival: Arzal can outline his Manifesto in Novices’ Chase
David Metcalf | April 6, 2016
Arzal ready to make Manifesto memorable
Arzal has some strong form to his name and looks the answer in the Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Chase that gets proceedings underway on day one of Aintree’s Grand National Festival (13:30).
Trained by Harry Whittington, this gelding was a useful hurdler and won his first two starts over fences in the manner of an exciting prospect. Arzal made all in both, jumping well in the main, before pulling clear to score easily.
The six-year-old then ran very well when stepped up into Grade 2 company finishing third to Ar Mad at Kempton, before posting a cracking effort last time out when runner-up to Vaniteux in the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster.
Arzal attempted to make all in the latter, and rallied after being headed three from home to go down fighting by 3 1/4 lengths in a race which was run in a quick time.
Form looks strong
The winner is a very useful sort who held every chance two from home in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival when unseating his rider, and the third home Fox Norton finished third in that contest.
Shaneshill, who finished 15 lengths behind Arzal in fourth, has also gone on to run a blinder to be runner-up in the RSA Chase at the Festival. That gives the form a solid look, especially as Arzal was attempting to give Vaniteux 4lb.
Another plus is that connections decided to bypass Cheltenham to save Arzal for this, and he could prove extremely tough to peg back on a flat track which suits front runners.
L’ami Serge feared most
Trainer Nicky Henderson has won two of the seven runnings of the 2m 4f contest, and L’ami Serge looks a big player for the master of Seven Barrows.
The six-year-old won his first two starts over fences in terrific style and, after running below par when runner-up at Warwick, bounced back to form to finish a fine third in to Black Hercules in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Such form reads well in the context of this contest, and the return to a flatter track looks sure to suit.
For more Grand National Festival race tips and previews, check out our Aintree page.
Coral’s top tip: Arzal has been saved for the race and looks decent value to get the better of L’ami Serge to land a cracking renewal of the Manifesto Novices’ Chase.