Warren Greatrex column looking back on La Bague Au Roi and Emitom at Aintree

Emitom does battle with Champ at Aintree
Emitom does battle with Champ at Aintree

Warren Greatrex reflects on two near-misses at Aintree last week reveals Emitom could be seen again this season at the Punchestown Festival.

Looking back…

LA BAGUE AU ROI – 2nd in Manifesto Novices’ Chase, Aintree

It was a case of close but no cigar at Aintree last week but I’m proud of all of them. It’s amazing the difference between a second and a first as nobody really remembers the seconds but we’re delighted with La Bague Au Roi and can look forward to next season with her.

That’s her done for the year anyway as Richard (Johnson) said she just probably wasn’t quite at her best and felt a little bit flat on the day. Like anything really, until you run them they can look good at home and she was in tremendous shape but possibly wasn’t at her peak. Normally she’s pressing on from the third last but she just flattened out before running on again.

We thought she might still get there at the last but she’s had a good season nevertheless and will parade at the Lambourn Open Day before heading off for the summer with a view to next season.

I think the King George has got to be her early-season target still, she was so good that day at Kempton this season, and after another summer there’s no reason why can’t improve a bit more.

She'll still have the 7lb mares' allowance and it’s been a remarkable season, winning two Grade Ones and finishing second in another, and she’s really franked what I sort of said all along about her.

EMITOM – 2nd in Doom Bar Novices’ Hurdle, Aintree

I don’t think it was anything Gavin (Sheehan) did wrong on the day but the race didn’t quite pan out for us. They didn’t go very quickly at all and as they came past us with a circuit to go I said ‘he can’t win’ as they hadn’t gone quickly and we were out the back.

So in the circumstances Emitom has run a massive race and has probably run beyond what we expected given how it all fell. Given all the accolades for Champ, we feel out horse comes out of this just as well.

Champ was flat out from the last and we were gaining on him at the line so all credit to the horse.

I have entered him at Punchestown in the three mile and the two and a half novice hurdles. Because it wasn’t a really strong race at Aintree, if he comes out of it well and he’s bright and lively in the next week or so then who’s to say we don’t take him there.

He definitely enhanced what we thought about him going into last week and I doubt he’d go to Punchestown without a serious chance in either race.

He’s only a novice for this season, don’t forget and it’d be a great thrill. The horse comes first though and hopefully next season he’ll be aiming at all those stayers races over hurdles. He’s top class for sure and has a bright future whether he runs again this year or not.

KEEPER HILL - 3rd in Gaskells Handicap Hurdle, Aintree

He’s come back well this season and I’ve a real soft spot for him after the issues he’s had. He had an operation last season and he’s come back great this time - his run at Cheltenham and win at Warwick were fantastic.

He couldn’t quite compete in Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but I was chuffed with the way he ran the other day. Richard loved him. He’ll go for a summer holiday and we may do something else with his wind in the off-season before he goes novice chasing.

He’s made to be a chaser and it’s nice ending the season following what I believe to his best ever performance.

THEATRE TERRITORY – 8th in Betway Handicap Chase, Aintree

She ran okay and maybe we should have used more waiting tactics. She’s come out of the race really well though and I’ve put her in at Exeter on Tuesday in a novices’ hunter chase.

I’m just mad keen to win with her and we should get her head in front before the end of the year. She comes out well in this field and it’d be nice at the end of the season to give her a win she deserves as it’s been an annoying and frustrating year.

People may think we’re taking the mick but my job is to win races and this will be a fantastic opportunity to finally get her head in front over fences.


Dollars primed for Ayr raid...

We’ve a few horses going up to Ayr this week and Printing Dollars runs in the Smart Money’s On Coral Seafield Trophy Mares’ Handicap Hurdle on Friday.

She’ll be suited by the track and Daryl Jacob rides her. It’ll be her final race of the season and she’s in great nick.

Sunny Express will run in the the bumper on Saturday and he’s a lovely horse by Jeremy. He’s done enough work to run here but this does tend to be a good race traditionally and whether he’s sharp enough to seriously compete we’ll have to see.

Mahlervous will run in the Ayrshire Hospice Land O’Burns Starlight Walk Handicap Hurdle and he ran a cracking race at Kempton a few weeks ago.

He’s owned by Ray Anderson Green and a few friends and they’ll all be there. The better the ground the better his chance and he’ll be off a nice weight. He’ll be a nice novice chaser next season and hopefully he can go well here.


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