I’M off to Aintree today for the start of the Grand National meeting. It’s an excellent card although a couple of the Grade Ones have cut up a little. But one race that is almost as strong as the Triumph Hurdle is the opener. Harry Fry bypassed Cheltenham with ACTIVIAL (above) to wait for today’s juvenile hurdle (2.00). That was a bold move and it could be rewarded with victory today. He has three lengths to find with Calipto on Newbury form and the latter was the hard luck story of the Triumph. However fresh horses tend to do well at Aintree (L’Unique won this last year after missing Cheltenham) and Activial could not have been more impressive when winning at Kempton last time.
The other Aintree runner who stands out is CLARET CLOAK. He was a good third in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham despite a bad blunder two out, which may have cost him the race. He is up 4lb but the flatter track and decent ground should be ideal. Emma Lavelle thinks the world of him.
One other to keep an eye on is DON SIGFREDO, who is interesting in the juvenile race at Lingfield (2.55). This one is said to have been working nicely and Tom Dascombe is adept at readying one first time. His half brother Andhesontherun was a useful two-year-old for Roger Varian last season and won first time out. I normally avoid early season two-year-old races but Don Sigfredo may be worth a speculative few shillings.
POSTSCRIPT: Yesterday’s Daily Punt horse Sparkling Ice drifted alarmingly in the market. However she belied her odds by trapping well and tracking the leader. She looked set to reward each-way money before weakening in the final few yards to finish sixth, her cause not being helped by drifting left. There is definitely a race in her.
2pt win Activial
1pt win Claret Cloak