Grand National clues and a star novice – three things we learned this week | Horse Racing News

Grand National clues and a star novice – three things we learned this week | Horse Racing News

By Sam Hendry and Owen Goulding

We may have seen a star-to-be at Punchestown this week and some top-notch UK performances on Saturday – here are three things we’ve learned. . .

Impaire Et Passe can play a big role in Spring Grade 1s

Time will tell if the form of Impaire Et Passe’s smooth Moscow Flyer triumph will hold up, but his professional mindset and stylish jumping should allow him to play a major role in the top novice hurdles at the Spring Festival.

His jump at the end was the only one to let him down slightly after he noticeably passed market rival Shecouldbeanything but that hardly slowed him down and it didn’t take much encouragement from Paul Townend to see him do very well on heavy ground effectively flew away from Punchestown.

Patrick McCann

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Impaire Et Passe and Paul Townend clear last place on Sunday in Punchestown

Impaire Et Passe and Paul Townend clear last place on Sunday in Punchestown

Patrick McCann

Although not as emphatic as the 19 lengths Dysart Dynamo hosed down in the same race last year, Impaire Et Passe’s lead of six and a half lengths is still greater than Douvan and Vautour managed in this race.

It’s a cliche that it takes a horse with stamina to tackle the Cheltenham Hill in a Supreme and Impaire Et Passe proved he has that after winning further at Naas in December.

He is now 6-1 for both the Supreme and Ballymore and it could be a while before his target is settled.

Stablemate Facile Vega has no chance for Supreme and could cement himself as a stable first choice at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he looks to have a potentially formidable rival in Impaire Et Passe.
Sam Hendry

There is nothing quite like watching a front runner in full flight

There are many spectacles to behold in racing, but perhaps nothing more impressive than a front-runner in full flight. That was evident on Saturday at both Kempton and Warwick where we were treated to some stunning, courageous jumping performances.

Despite occasionally jumping slightly to the right at Warwick, Galia Des Liteaux energetically attacked her obstacles under Harry Skelton and dominated her rivals in impressive fashion.

Paul Nicholls’ fantastic season continued as Pic D’Orhy sent his rivals into submission at the Silviniaco Conti Chase in Kempton, moving powerfully between the fences and always in command thanks to some nimble jumps.

Similar comments apply to Annsam, who was given perhaps the ride of the day by Adam Wedge in Kempton. He used the eight-year-old’s greatest weapon, his high travel speed and precise jumping, to devastating effect and never looked like he’d been caught.

There is nothing quite like seeing horses travel with genuine enthusiasm, overcoming their obstacles and never seeing another rival. Whether it’s an adrenaline pumping watch like Galia Des Liteaux or a majestic performance like Pic D’Orhy and Annsam, there’s something special about it.
Owen Goulding

Mark Cranham

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Pic D'Orhy was slightly ahead on Saturday in Kempton

Pic D’Orhy was slightly ahead on Saturday in Kempton

Mark Cranham

A big Grand National contender made an appearance in the Classic Chase – but it wasn’t the winner

Iwilldoit’s Classic Chase win was a great achievement for coach Sam Thomas after his starstayer spent more than a year on the sidelines.

The ten-year-old found his perfect conditions in an endurance-sapping battle through the mud and doesn’t appear to have missed a beat since winning the Welsh Grand National in similar conditions in 2021.

Bookmakers have him prominently in the market for the Randox Grand National at no more than 20-1 but he is unlikely to find such favorable conditions at Aintree in the spring and he is not even qualified for the race yet.

He still needs a run over fences before February 19th, which doesn’t give him much time after his hardships in Warwick.

The more likely one to watch for the Grand National might be Mr. Incredible, who finished conspicuously second and has no such qualifying issues.

Stamina doesn’t seem to be an issue and at only seven years old he has plenty of room for improvement.

Noble Yeats became the first seven-year-old to win at Aintree since 1940 out of 147 last year, and Mr Incredible – owned by Paul Byrne, just like Noble Yeats this time last year – could be in line for a similar mark. History can certainly repeat itself.
Sam Hendry

Read more from The Last Word. . .

Leighton Aspell: a super drive from Sheppard to compare trainer’s skills with returning Iwilldoit (£)

Racing Post Ratings: Which ‘future Class 1 Winner’ impressed our handicapper this weekend? (€)

Cook Review: Dan Skelton’s dramatic revival gives thoughtful gamers a kick (£)

Every Monday, catch our in-depth look back at the weekend’s races in the Racing Post. Featuring big race analysis from Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell, Chris Cook’s take on the weekend action, eye catchers from the Raceform team, things we learned from the week and more, this is not to be missed .


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