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Grand National Festival: Day two talking points

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Andrew Asquith highlights three talking points on day two of the Grand National Festival at Aintree.

Kim Muir and Ultima winners bidding for top honours in Mildmay

The second day of the Grand National Festival kicks off with the Mildmay Novices' Chase, a race which was won by Gerri Colombe 12 months ago, and the Irish appear to have another strong hand in this year's renewal. The horse who comes out top on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings is the Gavin Cromwell-trained Inothewayurthinkin, who was incredibly well backed and won with any amount in hand in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival last month.

He had twice found Gaelic Warrior too strong earlier in the season and he looked favourably handicapped on those two efforts from a mark of 145 and his backers never really had an ounce of worry under a very confident Derek O'Connor ride. He did take time to fully warm to his task, jumping slowly and to the right early in the race, but the manner in which he powered through the pack in the closing stages marked himself out as a horse who is much better than a handicapper. Admittedly, he faces much sterner opposition now, but the ground will be no problem for him and this avenue is well worth exploring. 

Another Cheltenham Festival handicap winner in Chianti Classico is also prominent in the betting and may give Inothewayurthinkin most to do. He produced a tremendously assured display to make winning a big handicap look routine on just his fourth outing over fences at Cheltenham and, as a prolific winner with a near-impeccable record, it is easy to see why connections are willing to have a pop at this prize. It won't be a surprise if he took his form up another notch and he will have no problem with likely ground conditions, though Heart Wood, who was an impressive winner of a Grade 3 handicap at Leopardstown in February, and arrives fresh having missed Cheltenham, will surely have his say, too.

Supreme second and third rematch in Top Novices' Hurdle

Mystical Power has always had a big reputation, being the first offspring of top-class mare Annie Power by Galileo, and he ran his best race yet when beaten one and a half lengths by Slade Steel in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He didn't have a smooth run through like the eventual winner, but he hit the front on the run-in and looked likely to hold on - he traded at 1.06 in-running on Betfair - before his stamina seemingly gave way to a stronger stayer close home.

That was still a good performance, though, and this track and  its sharper nature will more than likely suit him much better. Mystical Power also showed that he handles heavy ground on that occasion, so conditions shouldn't hinder him here, and it is interesting that connections keep the hood on that he wore for the first time at Cheltenham.

Firefox has three and a half lengths to find with Mystical Power, but he arguably got a worse run through at Cheltenham, so there is reason to think the pair will finish much closer together this time. He wasn't well suited by a steadily-run race, but he moved into contention nicely that day, and still had every chance in the straight before meeting with some trouble in-running which hampered his momentum. This race should be run at a more even gallop with the likes of Lookaway and Personal Ambition, both of whom like to race prominently, in the field and Firefox remains with the potential for better as a hurdler, though looking at him his future very much lies over fences (he's a tall, good-topped gelding).

Jonbon hoping to get back on track up in trip

Jonbon was just one of Nicky Henderson's 'big guns' who was withdrawn at the Cheltenham Festival last month with the yard under a cloud, but on bare form he looks the one to beat in this year's Melling Chase, and the yard were given a boost when Sir Gino won the second race on Thursday.

Jonbon can also boast an excellent overall record, notably beating El Fabiolo in the Top Novices' Hurdle at this meeting two years ago, and his only defeat over fences last season came at the hands of the same rival in the Arkle. He won his first two starts back this season with wins in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and Tingle Creek at Sandown, on both occasions beating Edwardstone with something in hand.

He was at his best in the rearranged Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham when last seen in January, but he was on very much on his toes beforehand and also sweating, leaving the impression that an extra week on from when the race was meant to be run may well have been against him. Jonbon's whole performance lacked concentration as well, tending to hang to his left and not jumping as fluently as he can, while he also made a massive mistake at four out that could have easily led to him being pulled up.

The fact that Jonbon was able to get back into contention and be back in front jumping two out is testament to his raw ability. He has raced solely at around two miles in his career to date, but has always left the impression he is worth a try over further, and he will be the one to beat if back to his best in this field taking on the first three home from the Ryanair in Protektorat, Envoi Allen and Conflated

 
 

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Free Daily Race Pass (Result)

CURRAGH 15:45

Sunday 26 May
7. FALLEN ANGEL 1st
Daniel Tudhope silk Daniel Tudhope
K. R. Burke
1. A LILAC ROLLA (IRE) 2nd
C. T. Keane silk C. T. Keane
P. Twomey, Ireland
9. OPERA SINGER (USA) 3rd
Ryan Moore silk Ryan Moore
Aidan O'Brien, Ireland
Go to full race

LATEST HORSE RACING RESULTS

17:45 KELSO

1st Henry Brooke silk 1. GALE MAHLER (IRE) 5/42.25f
2nd Conor O'Farrell silk 2. BEAU DELLA (IRE) 85/403.12
3rd Mr John Dawson silk 6. LEWESDON DANCER 25/126
J: Henry Brooke  
All 11 ran.
FULL RESULT

17:35 FONTWELL PARK

1st Jonjo O'Neill Jr. silk 3. CAWTHORNE BANKER (IRE) 7/42.75f
2nd Freddie Gordon silk 1 1. HAPPY BOY (FR) 85/403.12
3rd Rex Dingle silk 12 6. SARSEN (USA) 6/17
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

17:25 CURRAGH

1st G. F. Carroll silk 11. FAIRYTALE PRINCESS (IRE) 20/121
2nd C. D. Hayes silk 14. GRAPPA NONINO (IRE) 10/111
3rd N. M. Crosse silk 19. RAIN (GER) 14/115
4th Shane Foley silk 6. BAY OF SANIBEL (GER) 4/15jf
17 ran. NRs: 2  5 
FULL RESULT

17:20 UTTOXETER

1st Harry Skelton silk 1. MR HOPE STREET (IRE) 5/42.25f
2nd K. Brogan silk 1 8. GETAWAY WITH YOU 7/24.5
T: Dan Skelton  
7 ran. NRs: 7 
FULL RESULT

17:10 KELSO

1st Mr Milo Herbert silk 5. YIPPEE KI YAY (IRE) 1/12f
2nd Mr John Dawson silk 4. SUPER CITIZEN 10/111
3rd Miss Ellie Callwood silk ½ 6. BOTHWELL BRIDGE (IRE) 11/43.75
J: Mr Milo Herbert (7)  
9 ran. NRs: 2  7 
FULL RESULT

17:00 FONTWELL PARK

1st Adam Wedge silk 6. DANZINI (IRE) 4/15
2nd Ben Godfrey silk 3. DEAR RALPHY (IRE) 5/16
J: Adam Wedge  
T: Keiran Burke  
All 7 ran.
FULL RESULT

16:50 CURRAGH

1st Ben Martin Coen silk 3. HANALIA (IRE) 11/26.5
2nd Ryan Moore silk 4. LILY HART (IRE) 2/13f
3rd C. D. Hayes silk 8. SIDIZA (IRE) 8/19
8 ran. NRs: 5 
FULL RESULT

16:45 UTTOXETER

1st Chris Ward silk 7. CHEF DE TROUPE (FR) 18/119
2nd Sean Bowen silk 1. HOMME D'UN SOIR (FR) 5/23.5
J: Chris Ward (3)  
T: Tony Forbes  
6 ran. NRs: 3 
FULL RESULT

16:35 KELSO

1st Danny McMenamin silk 5. BARON BRIGGS (IRE) 9/43.25f
2nd Henry Brooke silk 7. DERWENT DEALER (IRE) 15/28.5
7 ran. NRs: 3 
FULL RESULT
Go to Horse Racing Results