1.55 Aintree: Class 2 Handicap Hurdle, 3m 149y
Intriguing to see Shutthefrontdoor back over hurdles. The former Irish Grand National winner should enjoy the conditions and trip and has done well as a fresh horse in the past, however as top weight of a mark off 146 he would have to be at his absolute very best to land this, given the last hurdle race he won was off 135. He may well be a better horse nowadays, nonetheless, it’s not an easy task.
Favourite is race fit Our Kaempfer. I was quite interested in this lad the other day at Chepstow. He ran well but was still a good deal beaten. He has to prove that he can stay this trip now, but if he does he’d be a major chance, given this is an easier race and he’s still quite unexposed.
To an extend the same goes for Broybourne. Quite a good handicapper on the the flat, winner of a 2m handicap when rated 89, he has taken well to hurdles. He has been placed in a Listed handicap Hurdle back in April and that form gives him a good chance if his stamina holds up, although he’s much higher in the mark now and will certainly need to take another step forward.
Shotavodka is quite an interesting contender. He was an excellent second on his seasonal reappearance last week and is certainly down to a handy mark judged on past performances. Question mark is the trip. He has been placed over 3m before but his best performances are all over much shorter.
Jonjo O’Neill’s second string Join The Clan has been progressive last season, winning twice in Handicap company over hurdles over three miles plus. He couldn’t match those performances when upped in class subsequently but comes back as a fresh horse now which might be the secret to him. Down to a fair mark at the moment, he’ll certainly any rain that’s falling until the start of the race.
With conditions sure to suit I think this lad has as good a chance as anybody in this wide open race. Having the assistance of excellent 7lb claimer Patrick Cowley, who has won on Join The Clan before, is also a big plus. He seems a rather huge price in my eyes and should outrun this price tag.
Join The Clan @ 14/1 William Hill – 5pts Win