16.15 Aintree – Grand National: Roy has a fine Chance
Trainer Phlip Hobbs’ has never won the Crabbie’s Grand National but he looks to have a leading contender this year in the shape of Chance Du Roy.
The gelding has won six of his 21 races over fences and also has plenty of form over the Aintree obstacles.
The 10-year-old was last successful over the unique fences in the Becher Handicap Chase back in December, where after racing on the heels of the leaders and finding hismself three lengths down as they jumped the last he only had to be to beat Baby Run by a length off a mark of 135.
Prior to that, his three runs over the National fences had seen him finish second to Always Waining in the 2012 running of the Topham, fall at the 14th in the Grand Sefton Chase in the same year when travelling well in third position, and finish a fair ninth of 29 to Trio D’Alene in last year’s Topham Chase.
That experience over the National fences is a major weapon in his armoury, and he looks to have a lovely racing weight off 10st 6lb.
Others that look to have leading claims are Monbeg Dude and Pineau De Re.
The former is trained in Hereford by Michael Scudamore, and confirmed himself as a fast improving staying chaser last season when winning a Grade 3 contest at Cheltenham over an extended 3m 3f before landing the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow under a supremely confident waiting ride from today’s jockey by Paul Carberry.
The nine-year-old has had the whole of this season geared around this event, and put in a cracking effort three starts back when attempting to retain his crown in the Grade 3 Murphy handicap Chase at Cheltenham and finishing fourth of 13 to Alvarado.
He then ran out a ready at the same venue when beating Theatre Guide by 1 1/4 lengths in a Grade 3 contest, and although he could then finish only fourth when sent off the joint-favourite for the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time out he was not knocked about after a bad blunder at the third and the run should have put him spot on for this.
A massive plus is that he stays all day, and if surviving the first circuit will have a huge chance if within striking distance of the leaders as they turn for home.
Pineau De Re has been nursed back to his best by trainer Dr Richard Newland.
The 11-year-old has won six races under rules, five of those coming in Ireland when trained by Philip Fenton.
The most significant of those was the 3m 4f Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick last year, where was given a confident ride by Danny Mullins before being produced between to the last two fences to draw clear and win by 23 lengths.
The gelding then joined Dr Newland, and was sent off the heavily backed 11/2 favourite for the the John Smith’s Summer Cup at Uttoxeter where he finished a creditable sixth of 18 to Storm Survivor.
Since then he has been campaigned over hurdles and fences, and looks to have been brought right back to his best judged on his last two runs.
In the first of those he cruised home hard held to win a handicap chase over 3m at Exeter off a mark of 133, and he then ran a stormer in the Pertemps Final over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival when a strong finishing third to Fingal Bay.
He gets into the contest off a nice racing weight of 10st 6lb, handles any going, and looks capable of running a huge race.