Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Brian Hughes: Aintree on Boxing Day is a Good New Meeting to Have on the Calendar


Brian Hughes: Aintree on Boxing Day is a Good New Meeting to Have on the Calendar


Last Friday, Hold That Taught won well, and probably wouldn’t have wanted the ground as deep as it was. He is a grand horse who jumped and did everything right.

Got Your Back was impressive at Musselburgh. Like a lot of Donald McCain’s, he’s gone on from his first run and improved plenty. He’ll be better taking a lead and probably going three miles too.

It’s also worth mentioning two bumper horses that ran in the week, Grand Albert at Bangor-on-Dee and One More Stroke at Musselburgh. They both made promising first starts and should improve plenty, so watch out for them next time.

Friday at Uttoxeter

Gris Gris Top (12:30 pm) is a decent type of horse. He’s a seven-year-old now with plenty of experience under his belt and he’s settled in nicely since joining the yard.

Hi Riko (1.05 pm) appears to be in good form, having finished second on his last two appearances. Given the winner from his most recent run has gone on and won again since, the form looks solid and I’m looking forward to getting on board.

Saturday at Newcastle

Deep Strato (11:55 am) is an English point-to-point winner and not one for bumpers. Like the rest of them, he took a good blow the first time out and you would expect him to come on plenty for that. He’s up against The Kalooki Kid, but he’s got to carry a penalty so that could swing it in our favour.

Brayhill (1:40 pm) is interesting having been off for a whole year and he had wind surgery over the summer. I wouldn’t be put off by the break as he tends to go well fresh, and I won on him after a long break last year. He could probably do with a little more juice on the ground, but he is off a similar mark to last year, so you’ve got to give him a chance.

Singapore Trip (2:15 pm) stayed on well and then got a bit tired from the back of the last. Sometimes it takes a while for the French horses to acclimatise to English racing, so he might need a couple more runs.

Kabuki (3:25) is a grand horse who does his work nicely at home. He is a big guy, and this track should not bother him, nor should any of the rain that falls. Kabuki is not your typical weak backward type of horse. He’s come from the French sales where it was working and schooling when they bought him, so you’d like to think he’ll be streetwise. I’m keen on him.

Boxing Day at Aintree

It looks like being Aintree on Boxing Day, which I think is a good new meeting to have on the calendar. Racing is a popular thing to go to on Boxing Day, so I’m sure it will go down well at Aintree. There’s some great racing and good prize money on offer, so I can’t see the negatives in it.

Aintree is a nice fair galloping track, and probably one where more horses will handle it than they would Sandown, so I see no problem with the Tolworth being changed to the Formby and being moved there. 

I’ve got no issues weight-wise after Christmas. I’d have to eat a hell of a lot of mince pies to not make 10st11lbs. Thankfully, I’m not in charge of the turkey, which I can assure you is a good thing, otherwise, we’d all be going very hungry! I’m hoping there’s a bit of ham on the plate too, as that’s probably my favourite bit. Happy to give the Brussels sprouts a swerve though!

Onto the racing and Riders On the Storm (12:30 pm) could go into the Veterans’ Chase. We won an Old Roan Chase just over a year ago, so he’ll go very well if he’s still anything like that. The first time up could be the best time to catch him too, so fingers crossed.

Minella Drama (1:40 pm) looks like going back over hurdles and going into handicap company. The handicapper hasn’t been too kind to him, but I suppose when you look at his last run over hurdles, he was second in a Grade 1 to My Drogo. That was way back in April 2021, but I don’t see any real negative in that. 

He’s had his wind done, likes the track and soft ground is no issue for him, so there are plenty of positives.

Lastly, General Officer (2:50 pm) could be back out again after winning at Doncaster last time. He got 7lbs which looks fair given he won by 15 lengths, and he’s a nice, straightforward horse.