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Unfortunately Minellacelebration wasn't up to the task of winning at Aintree yesterday. His jumping didn't seem at the level of when he's at his absolute best and his head carriage at the early stages of the race was questionable, so maybe he was a little too keen.
Backing a chase debutante isn't always an ideal thing to do, but if there was ever a race to try it I think this is it. BOLLINGEANDKRUG appeals to me to be a horse who will be better over fences. I know that might seem crazy to say as he's not been seen on the larger obstacles on the track, and nor do I have footage of him training, but based on how he jumps a hurdle, there is definitely plenty of scope from him for over fences.
He is bred to relish this kind of trip, and maybe even slightly further in the future, so the fact that he's already won twice over shorter trips is a definite plus in my eyes. His most recent win at Kelso over 2m 2f on good ground isn't what this lad wants, in my opinion. Even though the jockey never got extremely animated on him, you could tell that he was lacking the pace on quick ground at this sort of trip, but his stamina came into play and he stayed on strongly to win, and win nicely in the end, pulling away at the finish. I think a slower surface will be much better for this lad, and it's apparent he handles it. He won over 2m on soft ground at Kelso late last year, beating Elysian Flame who is a very good staying handicapper on the flat, and is handy over hurdles.
This doesn't look like an extremely competitive race, and you'd imagine that Animore will go off favourite. He has started well over fences and got a recent win, plus a good second behind a subsequent winner. However, Animore was convincingly beaten by the selection when they met at Kelso back in April, so as long as the selection takes to fences, I can't see a reverse in form. I thought Upandatit was an interesting runner. He ran well once over hurdles but has gone missing since, and has some good PTP form, so it will be interesting to see if the money arrives for him on chase debut.
This horse could be a quite short price come the time of the race, but based on what we saw from his last time out at Sedgefield, he surely is the one they all have to beat. GREY ATLANTIC WAY was an absolute plot job last time out and he clearly appreciated the step up trip, after being racing over much shorter for the majority of his career.
He won by 11 lengths, and it was only a manner of when Henry Brooke decided to press the button. He won that race at a canter and has been hit with an 8lb rise in the weights, which is to be expected, but I don't think it is enough to halt his progress now he's at the staying trips which he clearly thrives.
He has a fitness advantage over a couple of these and he gets the quality pilot of Oakley Brown to do the steering in this conditional jockey's race, which is a big positive and a noticeable booking by the trainer, Danny Brooke.
This race will be tougher than last time, but based on that visually impressive run, you'd expect him to still be well handicapped. Even the race at Kelso over hurdles, where he finished 3rd over 2m 2f, you could just tell when they decide to put him up in trip he could be well-in.