The handicapper has undoubtedly succeeded in attracting better horses to the Grand National by fiddling with the rules. But one unintended consequence is that by so doing, horses with excellent claims are denied a race. A prime example is Dun Doire, one of the revelations of this jumping season. Despite winning six chases (and going 50lbs up the handicap) he didn’t make the cut at Aintree.
He seeks to gain compensation in Monday’s Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and has the chance his skinny price of 7/2 suggests. He won impressively over an extended three miles in the William Hill Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last time out and the way he finished that race, charging up the hill having started the run-in seemingly with no hope, suggests the extra distance will be a help rather than a hindrance. The one chink in his armour is that he has never excelled on good ground. If the ground is good, exciting novice Our Ben is the class act in the race and can make that count despite carrying top weight.
In Sunday’s Powers Gold Cup at the same meeting, Missed That can turn the tables on Wild Passion who finished ahead of him in the Arkle at Cheltenham.
Kempton 3:15 (Saturday) Rohaani (win)
Kempton 3:45 (Saturday) Simple Exchange (win)
Fairyhouse 3:50 (Sunday) Missed That (win)
Fairyhouse 3:50 (Monday) Dun Doire (win); Our Ben (each-way if ground good)