Soll makes Aintree cut to delight of Pipe

Soll ridden by Mark Grant is headed to the National.
Soll ridden by Mark Grant is headed to the National.
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David Pipe expressed his delight after Soll moved up the list to guarantee a place in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

The giant 10-year-old was seventh to Yorkshire hero Auroras Encore in the Aintree spectacular two years ago when trained by Jo Hughes and also safely navigated the famous fences in last season’s Topham Chase.

He has been revitalised since switching yards at the start of this season, winning good prizes at Exeter and Newbury on his last couple of appearances, and Pipe is excited about running him on Merseyside this Saturday.

“He is an intended runner and Tom Scudamore will be on board,” said Pipe.

Ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor is one of 65 horses still in contention for the Aintree spectacular.

Despite having been off the track since winning at Carlisle in November, Jonjo O’Neill’s eight-year-old looks set to go off a warm order for the world’s most famous steeplechase as he bids to give legendary jockey AP McCoy a second National triumph before his retirement.

Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere remains at the head of the weights for trainer Jim Culloty, who is also set to run Spring Heeled.

However, the Sue Smith pair of Vintage Star and Lackamon are almost certain to miss the 40-runner cut – the Bingley trainer’s pair are 50th and 61st in the handicap respectively. It means Keith Reveley’s Night In Milan, and ridden by the trainer’s son James, will be the only local contender in this year’s race.

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Katie Walsh emulated her brother Ruby by winning yesterday’s Boylesports Irish Grand National on Thunder And Roses. The success was even more poignant because the victorious horse is trained by Sandra Hughes who was saddling her first runner in the race following the death of her father Dessie last year.

In a dramatic race which saw five leading fancies crash out at the very first fence, this race will also be one omission from the soon-to-retire AP McCoy’s otherwise impeccable CV – he rode Cantlow with patience but was unable to throw down a challenge in the home straight as Giggisntown House Stud horses filled three of the first four places.

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Ryan Moore, now regarded as the world’s best Flat jockey, could be the star of the show at Pontefract’s season-open meeting today.

On a relatively rare appearance at the West Yorkshire track, Moore will be disappointed if Sir Michael Stoute’s Dannyday does not prevail in the maiden.

He could have the class – Moore’s mount was seventh at Doncaster’s Ladbrokes St Leger meeting last September to Commemorative, who went on to put up a very creditable effort at the Breeders’ Cup in the USA.

Moore and Stoute later team up with Gothic in the feature £20,000 handicap, the highlight of a competitive card.