Paul Townend is weighing up his options for the 2019 Grand National
It’s a quiet start for me at the Grand National meeting and I have one decision still to make – who to ride in the big race itself on Saturday.
I have not yet decided what that horse will be and I will leave it until after declaration time on Thursday morning.
I would imagine Ruby will ride Rathvinden, then I have Pleasant Company, Pairofbrowneyes and Up For Review of Willie Mullins’s entries to choose from although it’s probably between Pleasant Company and Pairofbrowneyes.
I will see what way the ground is going. I think it is drying out at the moment at Aintree but they are due rain.
I have one ride on the opening day when I partner Melon (3.25). He showed a bit of form again at Cheltenham when second in the Champion Hurdle.
When he got to the track I rode him out a few mornings and it felt like it brought him back to life, having had a few bad runs before that. Obviously he was well beaten by Espoir D’Allen but at least he showed a bit of sparkle.
I don’t think the step up to two and a half miles will inconvenience him. He looks to be running and riding more like a two and a half miler these days than a two miler.
We just held on for second place at Cheltenham but he hasn’t had an overly busy season. He should handle the flat track.
Buveur D’Air falling meant he had the easiest time around there but he is coming back off a fall, which is never ideal. Go back 12 months there isn’t much between him and Melon. If we put our best foot forward hopefully we can give him something to think about.
Faugheen is coming back in trip but he had a hard race over three miles at Cheltenham.
Willie doesn’t bring a massive team to Aintree where you can often get funny results with horses not backing up their Cheltenham form. Our horses seem in good form and wouldn’t be travelling otherwise.
It won’t be an easy race with Buveur D’Air and the mare who beat him at Kempton, Verdana Blue, who is a bit of a forgotten horse.