Grand National Festival: Ivanovich Gorbatov can spark Anniversary celebrations
David Metcalf | April 5, 2016
Ivanovich Gorbatov can Triumph again
Ivanovich Gorbatov looked pure class when winning the Triumph Hurdle and looks a worthy favourite to follow-up at the Grand National Festival in the Grade 1 Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree (14:15).
The Aidan O’Brien trained gelding was a very useful sort on the flat and looked an exciting recruit to the National Hunt scene when winning on his debut over hurdles at at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.
Ivanovich Gorbatov travelled strongly throughout and, after challenging on the bridle at the last, showed a smart turn of foot on the run-in to easily beat Let’s Dance by just over two lengths.
It was a most taking performance, but Ivanovich Gorbatov failed to build on it next out at the same venue when only fourth in a Grade 1 when sent off odds-on.
Good ground the key
Connections believed the heavy ground was against him, and Ivanovich Gorbatov proved that to be the case when bouncing back to win the Triumph at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The well-bred son of Montjeu was given a supremely confident hold-up ride by Jockey Barry Geraghty and, after being produced to challenge at the last, quickened well on the run-in to beat Apple’s Jade by a cosy 1 1/4 lengths.
Ivanovich Gorbatov won with more in hand than the winning margin suggests, and is already being talked about as a leading contender for the 2017 Champion Hurdle for which he is currently 8/1 with Coral.
If he is to live up to those lofty expectations, Ivanovich Gorbatov should be up landing this Grand National Festival contest with the minimum of fuss at a track which will arguably play to his strengths more than Cheltenham.
Apple’s Jade open to further improvement
Apple’s Jade stuck to the task well in the Triumph and is clearly going the right way.
The Willie Mullins trained filly had won both her starts heading into Cheltenham, and in the last of those showed a willing attitude to dig deep and beat Jer’s Girl by a head in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Jer’s Girl has since gone on to bolt-up by 13 lengths in a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse to give the form a solid look, and Apple’s Jade rates the type who is open to plenty more improvement.
The Gigginstown House Stud owned daughter of Jeremy looks sure to give it her best shot to turn the tables on Ivanovich Gorbatov, but the selection has the potential to be something very special and can come out on top again before going on to even better things.
For more Grand National Festival race tips and previews, check out our Aintree page.