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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

We have plenty to look forward to at Aintree

Tom, has three booked rides today at Aintree.


2:25 HARBOUR LAKE - COMMENTS

3-3 when completing but latest win came in a Bangor handicap; this task is harder.

Trainer - Alan King - Owners - Exors Of The Late Trevor Hemmings.

We run a brace in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle earlier on Saturday, and Alan rates both among his more exciting novices.

North Lodge is rated 143, so only 4lb below likely favourite Jonbon, who was runner-up in the Supreme at Cheltenham, and, like our other runner, Harbour Lake, he will be out in a field enjoying the summer grass on Sunday morning.

Alan said:”The two of them are very much ones to look forward to for next season and beyond. I expect North Lodge to run very well. He lost nothing in defeat at Kelso, where he was just touched off by an improving youngster in Nells Son, whom we were giving 5lb. Going back up in trip will suit North Lodge.

“Harbour Lake pleased me at Bangor and is also going the right way, having won three of his four races without yet being the finished article. There is room for improvement in his jumping, but although he takes time to hit top gear, in all three of his wins he has hit the line hard and looked at his most impressive from the final flight to the winning line. He’ll come back a much stronger and mature horse after a summer break.”

3:00 EDWARDSTONE - COMMENTS

Has won most of the major races for 2m novice chasers this season, latest the Arkle.

Trainer - Alan King - Owners - Robert Abrey, Ian Thurtle.

Alan has fingers crossed that come 5.30pm on Saturday he will be enjoying the Grand National with a celebratory glass, not because he has backed the winner but, more important, because he might still be on a high after Edwardstone has signed off his glorious winter with another Grade 1 success in the Maghull Novices’ Chase two hours earlier.

Impressive, awesome, fabulous. We have almost run out of superlatives describing Edwardstone’s victory in the Arkle Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, and, unless this proves one race too many, the entire pressroom expect to be thumbing through Roget’s Thesauros searching for one more before the horse heads for a well-deserved summer holiday.

Alan said:”Everything has gone well since Cheltenham. I was very happy with the way he worked last week-end and he schooled fine with Sceau Royal on Monday. It’s true he has had a busy season, but he is now a more relaxed individual and his post-Christmas break definitely helped.”

6:20 ERNEST GRAY - COMMENTS

Irish bumper winner and strolled home at Warwick; there's substance to that form.

Trainer - Alan King - Owner - Andy Peake.

Alan is also sweet on his chance in the Grade 2 bumper, which he has won in the past with Pangbourne and been placed in with both Montbazon and Harambe.

This time around we have Ernest Gray, and Alan said:”It makes sense running him here rather than having him carry a double-penalty in a lesser race, and he is a horse I have always liked.

“I must confess, however, that I was surprised how well Ernest Gray won at Bangor as it was his first run since he suffered a setback last October. He won’t be inconvenienced if the ground has gone soft by the time of his race (6.20).”



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