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Thursday 19 October 2017

More is class act in Aintree

More Of That (Gabriela Gajova) pose on the gallops at Jackdaws Castle, Temple Guiting, near Cheltenham
More Of That (Gabriela Gajova) pose on the gallops at Jackdaws Castle, Temple Guiting, near Cheltenham

Last Sunday was one of the biggest days on the Irish racing calendar with four Grade Ones at Leopardstown and it was nice to get in on the act up there, winning on the aptly named Foxrock for Dad and Barry Connell.

Barry is local to Leopardstown and loves to have winners up there so we were delighted that Foxrock got the job done. He's never a horse that's going to be flashy, but he was tough in the closing stages and he just seems to be in good form at the moment and enjoying his racing.

Foxrock is in the Aintree Grand National and he'll also get an entry for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse but they are both down the line and his next port of call is at Gowran Park in three weeks, where he'll run in the Tetratema Hunters' Chase and we'll take it from there.

I was at the weights launch for the Aintree Grand National and it was a very novel idea to have last year's winner, Rule The World, there to greet the guests. I think he was busy around London during the day, getting pictured at a number of major landmarks in the city. It seemed to work very well and anything that can be done to promote the sport, especially in a busy city like London, is all good.

Foxrock has got a nice weight in Aintree but a couple of horses that really stood out for me were Gordon Elliott's Ucello Conti and Jonjo O'Neill's More Of That.

Gordon appears to have a strong hand in the race with plenty of entries but I think Ucello Conti could be the pick of them. He was second in the Thyestes Chase and ran a good race over the national fences in the Becher Chase so certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

More Of That was running a big race in the Irish Gold Cup last Sunday and I'm not sure he was done with when he parted ways with Mark Walsh at the last fence. That was a real sign that he is coming back to form and he's a class horse.

Big chance

It looks like the top weight won't run but More Of That only has 11st1lb at the moment and he's a World Hurdle winner that beat Annie Power so I'd be giving him a big chance.

While More Of That may not have been out of the race last Sunday, you can't take anything away from Sizing John who won the Irish Gold Cup.

I thought Robert Power gave the horse a really positive ride and it was refreshing to see just how much winning a prestigious race like that meant to Robert. He has to go to the Gold Cup with a chance.

Week by week, I think the Gold Cup is getting more and more wide open and it would be fantastic if we have four or five of them going to the last fence still in contention and battling it out.

You know that horses like Don Poli, Djakadam and Native River are all going to stay up the hill but you might not be as certain of that for the likes of Thistlecrack and even Sizing John, so it'll be fascinating to see how it develops. It could well be a race for the ages.

I thought Disko put in the best round of jumping of the entire day. A front-running grey horse that jumps well will always catch your eye but Noel Meade's horses have been bombing all season and Disko will have his say wherever he goes at Cheltenham.

Patrick Mullins brought up his full set of Grade Ones in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, adding to his Grade One bumpers and his chase win on Douvan last year.

Gordon Elliott's Mega Fortune won the Grade One juvenile hurdle with a decent performance but I'd be surprised if the juveniles in Britain aren't stronger this year and JP McManus looks to have a strong hand for the Triumph Hurdle.

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