This is a big day for @sevenbarrows with 11 runners heading up to Aintree for day two of the meeting and it would be nice to think there is a winner or two among them.
Thoughts are below:
We are doing exactly the same thing as we did at Cheltenham by running both these horses again and Thomas wasn’t beaten far when 5th in the Martin Pipe but is 2lbs higher in the weights now which shows how seriously the handicapper takes the Cheltenham form. He’s in top form though and, as usual, is in very good spirits with himself, he’s what you could describe as an ‘entertaining character’; very much a case of ‘naughty but nice’!
It was disappointing what happened to Rather Be (pictured, left) in the same race at Cheltenham as we really fancied him and to be fair I’m still not sure whether he got brought down or Charlie Deutsch was unseated but whatever happened it was the end of the game for him very early on and he didn’t get a chance to really show his capabilities. He did a little bit of jumping in the indoor school on Monday just to give him a quick refresher course and is in great shape. I have to admit I really like this horse and think he comes here a very happy person on ground that will certainly be in his favour. He’s also better off at the weights with Thomas which is another major plus.
2:20- RIVER WYLDE (Top Novices Hurdle)
He ran a great race to finish third in the Supreme and has come out of that contest in fine shape. Much of his best form is on flatter tracks so the course here will definitely be in his favour as his victory in the Dovecote at Kempton will testify. My only concern for him though is that this is quite a tough task as he’s quite buzzy mentally and I would be a little worried that Cheltenham may have taken the edge off him. That said, I’m happy with him at home and if you look at the path BUVEUR D’AIR took enroute to winning this last year, he was also third in the Supreme so perhaps we can start a new trend!
2:50- MIGHT BITE & WHISPER (Mildmay Novice Chase)
It’s the same duet that fought out the RSA and they’ve both come out of it well so we’re having another bite of the cherry. To be fair everything has gone well since Cheltenham and it’s difficult to keep them apart hence they face each other again and you couldn’t not run one without the other.
Nobody really knows what happened with Might Bite at Cheltenham but he clearly has a grouch with the final jump as he did exactly the same thing at the last at the same course over hurdles; I think he just loses concentration. In an ideal world, I would like to step in two out and throw a pair of cheekpieces on him for the rest of the race but I’d probably struggle to catch up with him so I’m leaving it all up to Nico! It’s a small field so it looks as though we’ll have to make it but hopefully he’ll have learnt from the Cheltenham experience and understand how he would have a much easier race had he not decided to say hello to everyone in the stands!
Whisper has got good winning form over hurdles at the track and also loves this time of year. In all honesty, he has done absolutely nothing wrong over fences and gets on very well with Davy so ignore him at your peril.
He is where he is in life and this is the perfect race for him. The good ground on a flat track is ideal and while he can sometimes be a bit in and out I just get the feeling that he’s a very happy horse at the moment. He popped over a few obstacles in the school on Monday and Nico rode him this morning and said how great he felt which is obviously a good sign and gives some confidence after his run at Cheltenham. He can have good moods and bad moods but I like the mood he is in at the moment.
4:05- O O SEVEN & GOLD PRESENT (Topham Chase)
We’ve got a very good record in this, it’s just the race over four and a half miles which we seem to struggle with!
They both ran great races at Cheltenham and go here with very good chances. They are novices which must be remembered but their jumping is their main asset and I just think a race like this will suit them well. We made a little Grand National-type fence which they’ve schooled over and seemed to really enjoy it. It’s hard to separate them really as they are similar horses and one can never be exactly confident in a race like this but they are in very good form, each has a bit of class (which you also need in this race) and deserve to be there. I’m hoping for the forecast with these two!
4:40 – BEYOND CONCEIT & CONSTANTINE BAY (Sefton Novice Hurdle)
This is a big step up in trip for Beyond Conceit and we’ve done a lot of homework where he is concerned therefore I’m hoping for a merit! Barry rode him at Newbury over 2m and said he couldn’t hold one side of him so when I suggested the horse may want further he said how sharp he was and that he wasn’t short of speed. However, we decided to step him up at Aintree where he was very keen before hitting a flat spot and then got going again after the last so after much deliberation we decided to run in the Supreme because of the likely fast pace in the hope he wouldn’t pull but in hindsight it was the wrong decision and we believe he will be suited by further and I think the 2m4f Novice race on Saturday is one of the most competitive of the week so we’re here instead. I spoke to Jamie Spencer, who rode him on the flat, and he said how he was aboard him over 2m5f at Goodwood and he absolutely tanked through the race therefore clearly got every yard of the trip so my thinking is if he managed to do that by making every yard of the running on an undulating course like Goodwood he should have no problem with 3m here and we have put a hood on to help him settle into a rhythm. He will have a little break after this and then we’ll have a look at the Ascot Stakes with him as my top hat needs an airing.
Constantine Bay is a lot less complicated and was badly hampered two out in the Albert Bartlett which ultimately put paid to his chances. That’s not to say he would’ve won but should’ve finished closer. I really like his attitude and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on on the future over fences.
5:15 – CLAIMANTAKINFORGAN (Bumper)
He ran a fantastic race at Cheltenham and his bumper form has been very solid all the way through. I have to admit I don’t like the bumpers around here as you have to get it so right and have plenty of luck on the way. It’s a tight track and they go off at a decent gallop so it’s usually a tough race. He is in great form though and it will be interesting to see if he can back his Cheltenham effort up.
I’ll be back tomorrow with news on our Aintree runners and other contenders elsewhere in another busy Saturday, and don’t forget to follow me @sevenbarrows and @stanjamesracing for all the latest news.