17:10 Aintree: Shotavodka capable of keeping it in the family
The David Pipe-trained Shotavodka enters the John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle targeting a four-timer, and also seeking to prolong a family association with Grand National day at Aintree.
Owner Mrs Jane Gerard-Pearse is the daughter of the 1997 Grand National winning owner Sir Stanley Clarke, who saw his 14/1 New Zealand-bred shot Lord Gyllene power around Liverpool under Tony Dobbin to ease to a 25-length victory in the big one 16 years ago.
Gerard-Pearse’s mother and brother have also owned high-profile winners at big meetings, and in Shotavodka – priced at 8/1 – she has a great chance of joining them on a family role of honour which is rapidly growing.
The seven-year-old gelding won at Taunton, Sandown and when staying on well at Newbury over as good as this distance on his last three starts, and with the most recent of those victories seeing him come home two-and-a-quarter lengths in front of Changing The Guard – a key rival here and priced at 12/1 – then there will be plenty of reasons for optimism from the camp.
Pipe saw Aintree success when Dynaste overcame his disappointing Cheltenham Festival performance to win the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ on Friday, and with that victory perhaps seeing confidence in his yard increase then Shotavodka is sure to find support after the day’s big race.
In a field which features plenty of winning form and several who are well-handicapped then Pipe’s charge will have his work cut out of course, but Charlie Swan’s Prince Of Fire has perhaps been a little under-raced in recent months and the same can be said for several others here.
Shotavodka looks in prime condition though, and ready to make more family success the order of the day.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing