2019 Grand National Festival: Five things we learned from Cheltenham
Hemmings has a strong hand once again
Trevor Hemmings’ record in the Grand National is one that continues to stagger, and the joint-winning most owner in Grand National history (three wins) will be hoping to hold that title on his own after this year’s renewal, with three potential runners left in at the latest forfeit stage on Wednesday; Warriors Tale, Lake View Lad and Vintage Clouds. The first-named seemingly failed to stay in last year’s renewal, but the latter two have very strong claims indeed, having finished second and third, respectively, in the Ultima Handicap Chase last week. Both are well in at the weights on the back of that, and considering that they are both well-suited to strong tests of stamina, it would be no surprise to see the famous green-and-yellow silks involved at the business end of the world’s most famous steeplechase once again this year.
Tiger Roll is in better form than ever
It’s difficult not to be caught up in the love-in with Tiger Roll, who added another landmark to his remarkable career when taking apart the field in the Cross County Chase last week, recording a fourth victory at the Cheltenham Festival in the process. That performance was a career-best on Timeform ratings, and the fact that Tiger Roll is thriving in a season which has followed a soft-ground Grand National win is testament to Gordon Elliott’s skill as a trainer. He’s the latest in a long line of returning heroes who will bid to become the first to emulate the great Red Rum in becoming a multiple winner of the race, and considering the form he’s in at the moment, he has a better chance of doing so than the vast majority of those who tried to do so before him.
🏆 Tiger Roll wins the Cross Country 🏆#CheltenhamFestival wins: FOUR— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 13, 2019
(Joins select group including Arkle)
🏇 Reigning Grand National champion
💷 Prize-money won: £867,282#TheFestival pic.twitter.com/6TuZB70hgJ
Anibale Fly is one for the big occasion
Anibale Fly hasn’t managed to get his head in front since December 2017, but he has still proven himself to be a fine servant to connections over the last 15 months or so, not least when improving on his 2018 Gold Cup third to go one place better in this year’s renewal. It was striking how strongly he was staying on at the finish that day, eventually getting to within two and a half lengths of Al Boum Photo, and he will head to Aintree a much fresher horse than he did 12 months ago – when he finished fourth – having had just three starts so far this term. He’s 5 lb higher in the handicap this time around, but will carry 2 lb less weight as it stands, and it isn’t difficult to envisage him pulling out a big run once again, with stamina very much his forte.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup hoodoo is over for Willie Mullins!— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 15, 2019
🏆 Al Boum Photo lands chasing's blue riband 🏆
🏇 Unbeaten this season
🇮🇪 Fourth Irish win in six years
🏇 First success for Mullins after six runners-up #CheltenhamFestival #TheFestival pic.twitter.com/BSVdPpxuoE
All of Rome’s roads lead to Aintree
This year’s renewal of the Foxhunters’ Chase was one of the stronger ones in recent years, and while it produced a deserved winner in the form of Hazel Hill, he will reportedly head to Punchestown next, meaning that it’s difficult to ignore the run of the fourth Road To Rome, who looks the ideal type for Aintree. Having blazed off under his customary forcing tactics, he shaped far better than the distance he was ultimately beaten suggested, not quite seeing out the trip on his first try over three miles, but only getting headed between the last two fences. He should prove well-suited to the demands of the Foxhunter at the Grand National Festival, with the drop back to two miles and five furlongs likely to suit, and ought to go close if taking his chance.
The Liverpool Hurdle line-up hinges on Paisley Park
Prior to last week’s Stayers’ Hurdle, the division felt as open as it had been for a while, but the nature of Paisley Park’s victory transformed him from an emerging force into a potentially imperious figure for years to come. With that in mind, it would perhaps create a better spectacle if Paisley Park does miss the Liverpool Hurdle – as his trainer Emma Lavelle has threatened he might – with his presence likely to scare plenty of the potential opposition away. That’s something that connections of Sam Spinner are banking on, and it’s likely that several more will follow suit and take their chance here should the champion pass up the engagement.
🏆 Paisley Park powers to Stayers' Hurdle glory! 🏆— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 14, 2019
🏇Owner Andy Gemmell blind since birth and a huge fan of Prince hence horse's name. #LetsGoCrazy
🏇 Racing TV ambassador Aidan Coleman in saddle
🏇 Third #CheltenhamFestival win for Emma Lavelle
🏇 Favourite backers rejoice pic.twitter.com/5dpVpFIVSk
Grand National 2019 News
Find out all the information about the runners and riders in the 2019 Grand National
Grand National 2019: Trainer & Jockey reactions
We round up the reactions from connections of beaten horses in the Randox Health Grand National, following Tiger Roll's historic back-to-back victory yesterday.
Grand National 2019: Where did my horse finish
Want to know where your horse finished in the 2019 Grand National? Find out here with our full A to Z guide to how every horse got on.
Grand National Result 2019: Tiger Roll creates history
Tiger Roll became the first horse since the great Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals of the Grand National for Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott.View all Grand National 2019 News