Willie Mullins fields four as he bids to win the Grand National for a second time - get the latest on those and a potential Champion Hurdle horse that ran at Fairyhouse.
We had nine winners over the Easter weekend so the horses are in great form.
Echoes In Rain and Janidil were probably the standouts in their respective races, Jody McGarvey gave the latter a great spin and he loved the better ground, and I was delighted with Dark Raven in the bumper.
He was very green but once he got over that and Patrick got him going in the straight he was very good.
Echoes In Rain was very impressive and she looks like a filly that could go the whole way to the top.
She could be a Mares’ Hurdle or even a Champion Hurdle horse. She has lots of speed, I’d be a little worried about her stamina, but being by Authorised she should have enough staying power.
In better races with a better pace she’ll be a lot easier ride, but she’s maturing all the time and learning how to race with experience. Her profile shows she is improving with every one.
I was also delighted to get Stormy Ireland back and I had no doubt she’d win over fences. She has a nice Flat pedigree and she had a couple of nice runs on the level before we bought her, being by Motivator.
We might pursue a Flat career with her – she’s still a maiden on the Flat – so she could be a nice recruit for that, she’s a valuable broodmare and it might be a safer option to go down that route.
I was disappointed with Gauloise at Cheltenham so I was happy to see her bounce back with a good second.
There’s more improvement in her and I hope we get to see that next season.
Paul Townend is recovering but a lot more slowly than anticipated. It’s unfortunate he misses Aintree but we’ll play it by ear and see how he gets along. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.
It’s great to have the Randox Grand National back on after missing out last year and brilliant that owners are allowed back on the course, as well.
We won the race with Hedgehunter back in 2005 and it would be great to win it again. We have four chances this year…
BURROWS SAINT – 5.15 Aintree
With Paul injured BURROWS SAINT is ridden by Patrick. He won the Irish Grand National and was a good second to Acapella Bourgeois in the Bobbyjo Chase and we feel he’s improving all the time. I don’t think he’ll have any problem with the trip and the drier ground will suit him, so there are a lot of positives there.
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS – 5.15 Aintree
Danny Mullins has formed a good partnership with him, winning twice and being second from three runs, so he retains the ride. The form of the Fairyhouse race gives him a good chance at a big price and I certainly wouldn’t be leaving him out of calculations. If he runs to his best he has a great each-way chance. Total Recall was sent off favourite for this race for the same owners when he ran in it and was pulled up, but we’ll be hoping for a better result with this fellow.
CLASS CONTI – 5.15 Aintree
CLASS CONTI was bought with this race in mind. He has plenty of stamina and I do think the better ground will suit him. Brian Hayes will be a huge addition on this fellow over these fences so I’d say he could be one for people who like something with a chance at a long price.
CABARET QUEEN – 5.15 Aintree
She’s been lucky enough to win a Kerry National and the Munster National, so it would be great for Jack Cantillon and his team if she could add the Grand National to her resume, as well. The trip won’t be any problem and the ground will be a plus for her, so who knows what she might do? Sean O’Keeffe was seen to very good effect for us at Cheltenham aboard Galopin Des Champs and he takes the ride.
LIVELOVELAUGH – 4.05 Aintree
LIVELOVELAUGH looked good but appeared not to get the trip in the Grand National at Aintree, but his method of jumping was great so we decided to bring him back in trip for the Topham. We hope he can be a lucky spare for Patrick now that Paul is out injured.
ROBIN DES FORET – 4.05 Aintree
ROBIN DES FORET had a nice break and then came back with a victory at Clonmel which he came out of very well. I think he’s recovered nicely from that race and the trip and the ground will suit him here, so he has a chance if he takes to these fences.