Grand National Festival: Minella a Present to punters in Red Rum Handicap Chase
David Metcalf | April 6, 2016
Minella Present weighted to strike in Red Rum Handicap Chase
Minella Present can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to land the Red Rum Handicap Chase (16:40) at Aintree on the opening day of the 2016 Grand National Festival.
The Neil Mulholland trained gelding was a smart hurdle performer who has shown progressive form in five starts since being sent chasing, winning once and finishing in the frame on the other four occasions.
After scoring in easily by five lengths at Fontwell, the seven-year-old ran very well when chasing home Violet Dancer at Towcester.
Minella Present stayed on to be beaten just over three lengths, and it was a very solid effort trying to give 6lb to the winner, who went on to score three-times and be rated 147 before sadly having to be put down after suffering complications whilst recovering from an operation.
Career best effort at Cheltenham
The son of Presenting backed that up with a career-best effort when runner-up to Keel Haul in a competitive 15-runner handicap at Cheltenham when last seen in action.
Minella Present got badly hampered three from home and was denied a clear run approaching the last, before powering up the hill to be beaten just a length.
It was cracking effort given how the race panned out, and there seems little doubt that Minella would have won but for those two unfortunate incidents at vital stages.
Although now 5lb higher in the weights, a revised mark of 135 looks very exploitable judged on that effort and especially his run behind Violet Dancer.
Irish raider Dandridge feared most
Trained in Ireland by the shrewd Arthur Moore, the seven-year-old scored in terrific style at Doncaster two starts back and ran a cracker in defeat last time out when runner-up to Solar Impulse in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Dandridge made a couple of costly errors in the latter before staying on strongly to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths, and now meets the winner on 4lb better terms.
Given how the race panned out, that may well enable the gelding turn turn the tables on that rival if cutting out the errors, and the return to a flatter track looks sure to suit.
For more Grand National Festival tips and previews, head on over to our Aintree page.
Coral’s top tip: Minella Present looks well-handicapped and worth a wager to land the spoils. Dandridge hails from a yard whose runners always command the utmost respect.