Being at Aintree last weekend was fun from start to finish.
The day kicked off with an incident-packed juvenile hurdle, while Grand National clues were on offer in the Becher Chase as the connections of the first three home all indicated that the “big one” back at Aintree was their main goal, which was a refreshing change from nominating Cheltenham.
This weekend my roadshow continues on to Doncaster, which features the Summit Juvenile Hurdle. The race has thrown up the likes of We Have A Dream, Who Dares Wins, Peace And Co, plus Fox Norton is the past few years.
As for Wednesday, a few tricky cards on the all-weather, while the jumps have small but competitive fields.
I was up at Newcastle the evening Matterhorn finished runner-up last time out.
He tried to make all of the running on what was an extremely wet and very windy evening when it proved impossible for any horse to make all of the running and win.
Virtually all of the winners that night were held up and came from well off the pace and he did best of the front-runners on the card.
It also appears that the winner that night, Thaayer, may have a serious future so I am taking that as pretty strong form.
Mattterhorn, a son of all-weather specialist sire Raven’s Pass, looks on a decent mark for his first start in a handicap.
Broke her maiden two starts ago at Hereford over 2m 3½f on good to firm ground, doing so by an impressive eight lengths.
The handicapper put her up 9lb for that effort but she ran well to be second on her last start at Carlisle on ground too soft to suit over a shorter trip than ideal.
She was beaten by Hidden Dilemma that day in a qualifier for the Northern Lights Mares’ Hurdle Series – and Hidden Dilemma went on to win the Mares’ Hurdle Final at Carlisle two weeks ago.
Versifier is now back up in trip and on the firm ground she likes. She is taken to overturn the Dan Skelton-trained Premier Rose, who seeks a hat-trick of wins.
Only two of the ten runners in this 7f handicap are three-year-olds but I would not be surprised if they are the pair to fight out the finish.
Of the pair, Charlie Appleby’s Swiss Knight has the most upside as he is making only his fifth career start and it is his first run since a gelding operation.
A winner at Haydock over a mile in June, he went on to be beaten just a short head a Newmarket on his final start in August.
This son of Oasis Dream already has all-weather experience, having finished runner-up at Wolverhampton on his debut last December and, given his form on firm turf, he should be even better suited to this faster all-weather surface.
She Mite Bite ran well on debut leading over the last before swerving to the right costing her momentum as she stayed on again towards the finish.
This daughter of Scorpion should be more aware of what is expected of her on Wednesday and a smaller field should help any wayward tendencies.
Henderson puts up Alan Doyle, who claims 6lb and who has another ride earlier on in the card. She Mite Bite is also getting between 7lb and 13lb from her rivals, so if she is going to win a race it should be this one