Five talking points from Aintree Festival

The sun was shining and the drink was flowing last weekend in Liverpool, so we look at the five major talking points from a superb Aintree grand national festival.


Many people won’t have heard the name Derek Fox before his grand national winning ride on Saturday . The coolness and calmness in which he rode One for Arthur to victory was something to behold.

The Sligo native can use this huge win as a springboard to bigger and better things as he showed on Saturday he can deliver on the biggest stage of them all. He never once did panic and arrived at the second last fence in the gruelling 4 mile 2furlong like he just joined in . He took it up at the last & went away from the admirable Cause of causes , more about him later.

Lucinda Russell had every confidence in Fox as he had just came back from a wrist & collarbone injury in the Tuesday of the race. She could have got champion jockey Richard Johnson who had no ride in the race, but she kept the faith and boy did he repay her confidence.  He rode it like a man that has so much belief in the horse moving slowly through the field & he got the biggest reward of them all in winning one of the biggest races in the world. Every luck to Derek Fox from here on in your career whatever happens now you are a grand national jockey and you did it in style


When Willie Mullins didn’t have any winners the first couple of days of Cheltenham there was more conspiracy theories than the sightings of UFO’S . His yard has a virus, they were all sick, Willie had lost the plot seemingly.

Willie went on to clean up the final few days of Cheltenham & show that you shouldn’t always be so quick to judge form of horses over a short period of time.  Things can go wrong any given day or simply the horse are just not good enough.

The likeable farmer Colin Tizzard has a disastrous Cheltenham & with so much expected before hand he drew a blank. He made up for it here in spades with a wonderful Aintree festival helped by the In-form jockey Robbie Power. He drew a blank on the first day with his stable star cue card finishing second in the Aintree bowl. He was probably beginning to think not again but that all changed on Friday with a treble courtesy of pingshou,fox Norton & ultra-gold at 50/1 in the Topham.

He followed that up with a double on Saturday with the talented Finnians Oscar & sizing caldeco making him the leading trainer at the meeting with 5 winners .  He is only going to get bigger & go from strength to strength & will be a formidable opponent for Nicholls & Henderson next season for the trainers championship.  More luck to him not bad for dairy farmer who started off with a few point to pointers .


Like most racing fans we have our opinion on certain horses & what distant they should run at. This fellow Yanworth divided plenty of opinions. He was second in last years Neptune at the Cheltenham festival & looked sure to be heading down the 3 mile route for the season.  The main reason he was probably kept at 2miles was that a lot of the top talent at that level were injured. He went off favourite for the champion hurdle & stayed on well after getting badly outpaced to finish 7th.

He won the 3 Mile grade 1 card on the Saturday card in the style of a horse that should never be running over 2 mile . He travelled well into the home straight & grounded out the victory to see off the rapidly improving supersundae. He should be a force to be reckoned with in the stayers division in the coming seasons now that everyone see he is a true 3 miler.


Robbie Power wins the gold cup in march, then gets to ride all the Alan Potts horses at Aintree & wins the leading jockey at the meeting. That’s probably something Robbie power dreamed off & well it all happened & it can only get better for the Meath man.

He is no journey man he’s a top class rider he has already a national under his belt winning the 2007 national on silver bench for the then barely known Gordon Elliot.  He won the gold cup on the brilliant Sizing John & took the opportunity that was provided to him at Aintree with both hands.

He finished the meeting with 4 winners all for the Alan Potts team with pingshou,fox Norton on Friday & then winning with Finnians Oscar & sizing cadelco on the Saturday like a man just riding the crest of a wave. The punchestown festival is approaching & he will have some great Chances to add more big race wins for the Potts team along with the already profitable association with Jessica Harrington . He is no better man for the job a pure horseman and more glory surely awaits before the season ends.


I couldn’t let it go without mentioning one of the most popular horses in training over the stick the classy Cause of Causes. He ran the race of his life to finish second in the grand national what a horse he is . There was no excuses on the day a better horse won, but the way he jumped & the heart he showed to give Jamie Codd the spin of his life around aintree will not be forgotten .

He is not that big of a horse he’s bred to be running on the dirt in America not to be running 4 mile 2 over monster fences . That’s the beauty of him he’s a Ladbroke hurdle winner , a 3 time Cheltenham festival winner & also has finished 2nd at another festival, throw in a second in the galway hurdle & you start to understand how good this horse his.

He is only 9yo never mind the cross country next year Gordon  stick in him the gold cup for bloody sake


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