Candy could be a treat at Aintree

Last Updated 21 Jan 2020 | Commercial content | 18+

Kimberlite Candy laid down some claims of Grand National success to come with a fine victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick over the weekend.

Trainer Tom Lacey admits “the National is definitely an option now” though he does so on the proviso of soft ground prevailing at Aintree come the first week of April.

Classic case made for Aintree

Racing off a mark of 140 at Warwick, Kimberlite Candy sat close to what was often a fairly break-neck pace being set by Harry Skelton on board eventual runner-up Captain Chaos – at least break-neck in the sense that more than three miles and five furlongs had to be covered.

The impressive success at Warwick should be more than enough to get Kimberlite Candy a rating good enough to make the line-up for Aintree in the spring time, should connections opt to go down that route.

If they do, he’d have the chance to become the second Warwick winner in four years to go on to and grab Grand National glory in the same season; with Lucinda Russell’s One For Arthur taking Classic Chase in 2017 before giving Scotland an overdue National win.

Auroras Encore (2013) is another recent National hero to have taken in the Warwick contest (fifth) en route to Merseyside.

Aintree experience already banked

Just like One For Arthur four years ago, Kimberlite Candy came into the Warwick race on the back of a pleasing effort in the Becher Chase over the famous Aintree fences previously.

Whereas One For Arthur had managed fifth in the Becher, Kimberlite Candy was a clear second-best behind Walk In The Mill before Christmas.

No mean effort, with Aintree regulars Definitly Red, the aforementioned One For Arthur and Vieux Lion Rouge among those to finish in his wake.

Both Walk In The Mill and Vieux Lion Rouge, as well as another recent Becher winner in Blaklion, have gone on to put up excellent efforts in the Randox Health Grand National itself, and there really is no substitute for experience over the unique National fences.

National ticket stamped

A BHA rating of 142 was good enough to sneak into the National line-up last year when the weights were announced in February.

With next month’s announcement pending, it seems certain the assessor will revise Kimberlite Candy’s mark to the point where he’s assured of a ticket to Aintree. He had ten-lengths over the field at Warwick when he crossed the line and that should guarantee him a run.

His trainer was delighted with the win but, perhaps more so, to have seen the eight-year-old backing up a good run with another positive effort.

Ground conditions are likely going to be the dictating factor when deciding on an Aintree return.

“He’s a very special horse. Every season he’s won his races and [now] he backed up a good run at Aintree, but the pattern was there; he’d never backed up a win and it was a concern,” said Lacey of his Warwick win.

“He’s another year older and even at home he’s taking it forward the whole time now, rather than travelling in behind the bit.

“Jumping is usually his strong point and Richie gets him into a lovely rhythm, but he said he didn’t jump quite as well. Whether that was the sticky ground or the fact that he was returning to these [black] fences after Aintree, I’m not sure. The National is definitely an option now but it would want to be soft for him.”