What a monstrous performance by Our Duke in the Irish Grand National this afternoon. Sensational! This lad has the WOW factor. He was one of three on my shortlist but he was a short enough price given what he did up until now, but you have to say after this performance he actually was a huge price! well hindsight is a beautiful thing….
Anyway, Our Duke was able to track what appeared to be a pretty decent pace, took matter in his own hand from quite a way out and still had a lot left in locker when it mattered most. A potential Gold Cup horse? Absolutely!
It clearly puts the icing on the cake for the winning trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Robbie Power – both teamed up only a month ago to land the Gold Cup at Cheltenham!
2.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3f
A really poor race in terms of form, though some may find back to their best at a track they ran well in the past. The one most likely to do this is Bushel in my mind.
He is a course and distance winner of a much higher mark. Given he is a son of Street Cry this is no surprise as he has a tremendous record with his offspring at this track.
Bushel hasn’t been winning since 2015, however ran with credit a handful times on turf last season, suggesting he is still not as far of his best, however big marks caught him out. Putting in a couple of stinkers his mark has dropped rapidly to a lowly 57 now.
That comes as a result of 15l+ beaten fifth in a 14f Handicap at Southwell last month. However pretty much no other rival was able to cope with the very well handicapped winner either. It came also over a trip that clearly stretched him.
In fact he was assisting the pace early on and travelled pretty well for most parts but fell apart over 2f out. The drop to 11f will suit and the additional 3lb off the handicap mark will certainly help too.
10pts win – Bushel @ 13/2 Paddy Power
5.05 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 5f
It will be interesting to see how this pans out pace wise with a split not impossible, despite only 11 runners, but I feel the low numbers are more likely to dominate and should be an ideal scenario for Majestic Hero who could be towed in to take it up when it really matters.
He won two races last year, including here at Newmarket and ran with plenty of credit in many more. His form tailed off toward the end of the season after a long campaign, though.
He clearly prefers this type of undulating tracks and acts very well on faster ground, so conditions should be ideal, A mark of 88 is fair judged on what he has achieved and if he can run to this rating here he must go very close with Jamie Spencer taking the ride as he did last year when these two teamed up to land the Newmarket race.
Jamie Spencer, often slated, is however clearly a bonus in the saddle, given there aren’t many that ride this course and distance better. Also Majestic Hero goes well fresh.
10pts win – Majestic Hero @ 12/1 Bet365