Hunt Ball can waltz to Grand Sefton success
Hunt Ball can make his class tell to land today’s Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree over the Grand National fences (3.15).
The gelding was ultra-progressive in 2011/12 when trained by Kieran Burke and winning seven times, with the last of those successes coming off top-weight of 12st in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The nine-year-old went on to score at Taunton in 2013 off his current mark of 155, shortly after which he was sold to race in America.
However things didn’t go to plan for Hunt Ball in the USA, and his owners decided to bring him back to the UK and put him in training with Nicky Henderson.
Hunt Ball showed that he retained plenty of ability on his second start for Henderson when a cracking 7 1/4 length fourth of 11 to Dynaste in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, where he had the likes of Al Feorf, Boston Bob and Menorah in behind.
That is very strong form in the context of this class 2 handicap and makes Hunt Ball’s current mark of 155 look exploitable.
The son Winged Love also managed to complete in this year’s Grand National, ableit a well-beaten tailed off 17th of 40 to Pineau De Re, and this afternoon’s shorter trip is sure to suit.
Hunt Ball should also now be spot on to do himself justice following a recent pipeopener over hurdles at Ascot, and with Andrew Tinkler in the saddle everything points to a big run.
Others worth considering in a wide open affair are the Paul Nicholls trained pair of Rebel Rebellion and Rolling Aces.
The former won the race 12 months ago when beating Your Busy by 1/2 a length off a mark of 139, and is now just 5lb higher in the weights.
Like last year, the nine-year-old comes into the contest after two prep runs and looks to have been primed to make a bold defence of his crown.
Rolling Aces was second in last season’s Grade Melling Chase at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival and fourth on his reappearance in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at this venue.
Both those runs came over the Mildmay Course with its standard fences, but they represent strong form and make the eight-year-old a big player despite top weight if taking to the unique National fences.