16:50 Aintree: Captain Conan can live up to Henderson’s hype at last
With the race only in its fifth year, there are few patterns to consider and with the winning trainer from the past two years, Philip Hobbs, without a representative, only Nicky Henderson has tasted success here from those with runners.
Seven Barrows is represented by the highly thought of Captain Conan, who was well supported in opposition to supposed Festival banker Dynaste in last month’s Jewson, only for both of them to be outdone by outsider Benefficient, with Henderson’s charge punished for trying to go with the favourite, eventually tiring into fifth place.
The six-year-old’s performance warranted much better than a five in his form column as coming to the last he was arguably going the best. Soft ground plus the Cheltenham hill put paid to his chances in March but with more favourable conditions he rightfully sits at the top of a lot of lists at 6/4 to win this.
Henderson has routinely said that he thinks his French recruit is much better than what we have been able to see on course, and there were clear signs at Cheltenham that what the saddling maestro had witnessed in Upper Lambourne was translating where it mattered. Even when he scraped home in the renamed Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown, his handler expressed disappointment rather than satisfaction.
As mentioned there are obviously few trends, although one that is beginning to take shape leads to Lucinda Russell’s Tap Night entering calculations at 10/1. Three of the race’s four winners were part of an Arkle line-up a month before and of the two in the race that hold that credential, AP McCoy’s partner is preferred to the outclassed His Excellency at 12/1.
Tap Night only beat two home in a race dominated by Simonsig, but he has shown an incredibly aptitude for the wining line in his short career with six victories from his last nine starts and could make his presence felt with circumstances now more in favour.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.