Jack Milner of BetVictor.com takes a look at Monday’s cards
One for Arthur gave Scotland a first Grand National success since 1979, winning for Kinross-based trainer Lucinda Russell and 24-year-old Derek Fox at Aintree on Saturday. Fox was having just his sixth ride since returning from a broken wrist but showed no rust in the saddle, delivering the gelding with aplomb to lead over the last and storm home to a wonderful reception on Merseyside.
BetVictor were hit hard by their Six Places concession, with ante-post favourite Vieux Lion Rouge finishing sixth for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore, and the winner well-backed and the worst result alongside last year’s runner-up The Last Samuri.
One For Arthur will head back to Aintree in 12 months time’ bidding to emulate Red Rum and win back-to-back Nationals but prior to that will be paraded at Kelso ahead of this afternoon’s card, with Russell saddling no less than seven runners. It would be a fairytale homecoming for her to train a winner on today’s card and I expect Maraweh (2.10) to go close for Grand National winning jockey Derek Fox. The selection is now 2lb lower than scoring at Perth last season and should relish this today’s sounder surface.
I’m willing to chance Green Flag (3.10) for the pair in the feature Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles. The selection was rated as high as 145 when second to Annacotty in the G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton over three years ago and despite losing his way since has shown promise in a pair of Hunter Chases and can hopefully capitalise from a career-low mark.
The sun is setting on the NH season for another season and the flat returns at both Windsor and Redcar, with Tom Dascombe’s well-bred filly Nobrassnolass (2.20) under stable jockey Richard Kingscote. The daughter of Kodiac hails from a speedy family and must go close for a stable that thrive in such sphere.
Paul Hanagan is an eye-catching jockey booking aboard Gramercy (2.50) for Paul Morris in the Seller. The selection has held his form well in handicaps throughout the winter and appears to have been well-placed for a nice confidence booster dropping down in grade.
Hanagan is 2/1 with BetVictor to win a third Flat Jockeys’ Title in a likely duel with weighing room colleague Silvestre de Sousa – the 6/4 favourite. De Sousa has partnered with Mick Appleby for the forthcoming campaign however, the ammunition Hanagan should receive from his former boss Richard Fahey should see the balance tip in his favour and the pair must go close with Lord Commander (3.20) in the 3yo Maiden over a mile a quarter. The son of Nayef showed plenty of ability when third on debut in a warm York maiden last October and should improve for this afternoon’s step up in trip.
A competitive field of 18 go to post for the feature handicap over the extended mile and after his pipe-opener last weekend at Doncaster I expect Alan Swinbank’s Zealous (4.20) under the excellent Joe Fanning. He shaped with promise before tiring in the closing stages and should strip fitter for his first run in
Ryan Moore has a tremendous book of rides at Windsor and, after his 575/1 treble at Doncaster on the opening weekend of the flat campaign, is going to prove popular in plenty of multiples this afternoon. I think he may have to wait until the finale to ride a winner however, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Commodity (5.00) fancied to make a winning debut handicapping. He sets a fair standard based on his efforts in three maidens and is open to improvement from an opening mark of 75.
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