In the first of three races over the big Grand National fences this week, Grand Vision could really enjoy the challenge of the Randox Health Foxhunters Chase.
The distinctive 12-year-old, one of the lightest ‘greys’ in training, has been in excellent heart this season winning at Lingfield and Wincanton and raced prominently before weakening into sixth behind Pacha De Polder in the Cheltenham Foxhunters last month when Balnaslow (second in this last year) finished seventh, On The Fringe ninth and Unioniste 10th.
Grand Vision’s greatest asset is his jumping and it is easy to imagine him fully embracing this task over a distance, in the testing ground, which could prove ideal.
Tip: Grand Vision (7/2)
PERFECT HUSTLER showed a real liking for this venue in the autumn, building on a good second over 6f when going one better over the same trip and shaping as though this extra furlong would unlock further improvement. A bold bid beckons on his reappearance, although he does have to defy a penalty and there are a few interesting newcomers in opposition, none more so than Nordic Passage, a well-bred colt representing a John Gosden yard with a good record at this venue in recent years. Boing, a half-brother to five winners, and 26,000-pound purchase Scimitar are also respected for Richard Hannon first time out.
Top Tip: PERFECT HUSTLER (1/1)
Watch out for: NORDIC PASSAGE (6/1)
Squire is sure to have plenty of supporters after a good second in a higher class off this figure at Chelmsford, but he is yet to win at this circuit and preference is for THE KING’S STEED. After victories at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford, Shaun Lycett’s charge was only denied a hat-trick by a length at Lingfield under a penalty, and could bounce back now off 5lb lower. He weakened quickly at Wolverhampton on Monday but was a bit keen and can be forgiven that effort. The Grove is handicapped to go well if ready to roll after a layoff.
Top Tip: THE KING’S STEED (12)
Watch out for: SQUIRE (5)