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Mon Jul 23
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Thu Jul 26
Worcester
Fri Jul 27
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Entries & Recent Form

It is the start of an exciting week with Aintree’s Grand National fixture kicking off on Thursday. Weather depending, we will be having a few runners during the course of the three days, including some of those that were stuck in the mud at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, with the ground currently ranging from good/soft to soft depending on whether it is the Mildmay chase or hurdle course or the National course itself, it is already considerably better than at Cheltenham and with a largely dry week forecast in the Liverpool area it has every chance of drying further still.

Of those that did not appreciate the Cheltenham going, Vaniteux, Mr Big Shot, Moon Racer and King’s Socks all hold engagements at Aintree, although Vaniteux would almost certainly prefer it much faster still. King’s Socks has a choice of engagements – he is currently entered in the 2m Red Rum handicap chase, the Alder Hay handicap hurdle over 2m4f and the Melling Chase, also over 2m4f. He didn’t seem to get home over 2m5f on testing ground last time, so the drop back to 2m4f on an easier track like Aintree should suit him well, although he would not be inconvenienced by reverting to the minimum trip.

Contrarily the softer the ground the better for Eamon An Cnoic, who is also entered in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. He ran a blinder over fences at Cheltenham last time but did not get the trip. The 2m4f will be much more to his liking, although we are looking at a return to timber as there is a distinct lack of opportunities for 2½ mile novice chasers at Liverpool. Moon Racer is also engaged in the Alder Hay and he looks well worth a go at this longer trip.

Rathlin Rose, who has been in great form once again this season, winning at Sandown and Ascot is entered in the Topham Chase and could well take his chance there, although he is also entered in the Scottish National and Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on the final day of the season.

Taj Badalandabad who ran a stormer when fourth in the Pertemps Hurdle Final at Cheltenham is engaged in the three mile handicap hurdle on the Saturday, while Mr Big Shot holds an entry in the same race. He ran well for a long way in the Martin Pipe last time and he has the look and pedigree of a three mile chaser, so may well improve for the step up in trip.

Vieux Lion Rouge is our solitary hope for the Grand National and he has run well in the last two renewals to finish seventh and sixth. He is in very good order and I am hopeful of another big run from him. We were joined by Mike Vince last week and below you will find a video of our chat about the Grand National as well as my hopes for the remainder of the meeting. Many thanks to Mike for once again giving of his time and expertise.  Click the image below for video:

Of our other runners this week, we have four runners today split between Wincanton, Market Rasen and Kempton - after that our next runners are likely to come on Thursday. Not only are we at Aintree, but I have three entered at our local track, Taunton. Ilovemints is ready to go once again, while Impulsive American will be running any time now after his lay-off. Mechelen, who ran a very good second in a bumper at the track, completes the trio of entries.

The weekend is completed by Ilovemints and Delface who both hold entries at Chepstow, while useful novice hurdler Garran City could go to Ffos Las on Sunday. The softer the ground, the better for him and he is fairly much assured such conditions there!

Congratulations to stable amateur Rex Dingle who completed a notable double at Cherrybrook on Sunday. Notable not least because he was completing the double on the same horse, Dicky Bob! He enjoyed a walkover earlier in the day in the Members before winning the Open race…a rare feat indeed.

We will be bidding farewell to conditional jockey Michael Heard at the end of this week after his decision to retire from the saddle. Michael, who rode 33 winners during his career, has decided to call it a day to focus on the family business of farming. His family are prominent farmers in the Okehampton area and Michael will be assisting his brother. We wish him luck and every happiness for the future, especially his forthcoming wedding.

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