The Aintree Festival has been a particularly successful one for all of us at @sevenbarrows and BUVEUR D’AIR was very good on Thursday. He’ll probably be finished for the season now and we’ll work back from the Unibet Champion Hurdle next season to try to retain his crown. MIGHT BITE was brilliant and there was no naughtiness after the last this time; he jumped like a buck and we might look at the big £1 million bonus with him which means he could start off at Haydock in November. He’s a very exciting prospect, that is for sure.
RATHER BE deserved to win the Handicap after a mishap at Cheltenham and we’ll have a look at the program book before making a decision what we do next with him.
It’s a quiet day for us on Saturday with just four runners heading up to Aintree Festival so let’s hope it’s a case of quality over quantity!
2:25-CULTIVATOR & LOUGH DERG SPIRIT (Mersey Novice Hurdle)
This looks a good contest and to be fair Kempton was a very lovely prep race for this with Cultivator and I think he would definitely have come on for it. He’s a decent horse and was third in a G2 at Sandown so brings some strong form to the race. The trip and ground will suit him and I really rate his chances but you have to be realistic and beating Finian’s Oscar will be a tough task but Cultivator has been primed for this and I can see him running a very big race as there is still plenty of improvement in him.
Lough Derg Spirit is a lovely horse with a very bright future who did it nicely up at Musselburgh the other day where I really liked his attitude and that should have put him right for this. He’s a point to point winner so the step up to two and a half should bring out more from him as all he does is just gallop and gallop. He was disappointing at Ascot when we tried to hold him up which was the wrong thing to do so he’ll be much handier this time.
I really do not know what happened at Fontwell last time, I really don’t and we’ve had him all checked over and he is absolutely fine so we’ll just have to draw a line through it. He has been a real enigma, I have to admit. First time out this season he won at Ascot and I thought he’d be our star novice but he’s just gone backwards and I don’t know why. We’ve done everything we can to see what’s going wrong and nothing has come to light but we schooled him on Monday over a few poles and he really enjoyed it so I’ve got no concerns about his well-being. Twelve months ago I thought he’d win this corresponding race after bolting up at Ascot and while he didn’t win the ground was not to his liking at all so the quicker ground this time around is at least in his favour. At the end of the day we know he’s a good horse, it’s just getting him to realise that himself! Hopefully, the cheekpieces will help him.
5:15-COCKTAILS AT DAWN (Grand National)
I have got to be brutally honest as it would be no point telling you all how much I fancy him and you wasting your money because I really do not. His record around Aintree Festival is appalling and it will be a massive surprise if he gets around, let alone wins. My best advice here would be to go and buy a cocktail and come back half an hour later and see if he’s still going! He schooled over our National fences last week and got from A to B which was the main thing but he fell in the Topham last year and will likely struggle here. As always though, the Grand National is a great race and massively competitive but I did see MORE OF THAT school last week and he was absolutely superb, so if I was to give a tip for the race it would certainly be him. You need a horse that stays but also possesses plenty of quality and he has just that and 12/1 with Unibet looks a very good bet, I’d say.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your kind messages via our @sevenbarrows Twitter account over the past few months. With a little help from the folks at @stanjamesracing I’m steadily getting the hang of all of this tweeting and will continue to get plenty of practice in before the season comes to a climax at the end of the month where hopefully we can go out with a bang with Altior winning the Celebration Chase and us winning the Trainers’ Championship!