The ones who ‘sneak in’: How did the outside National prospects fare at Cheltenham?
While all of the rage around the Cheltenham Festival was around how Tiger Roll would fare in his prep race for a historic bid at the Grand National, there were also many other Aintree hopefuls on show during the four days at Prestbury Park.
Bristol De Mai and Elegant Escape faltered in the Gold Cup, Ramses De Teillee offered no sort of run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and Kildisart was narrowly denied in the Ultima Handicap Chase.
But some went under the radar in their Aintree preps and look now to be live Grand National outsiders, so let’s a take a look at these.
Traffic Fluide – 50/1*
It was an all-round tough week for the yard of Gary Moore following Goshen’s mishap when miles clear in the Triumph Hurdle and it didn’t start the greatest when Traffic Fluide offered a poor run in Wednesday’s Coral Cup.
A faller when looking like mounting a serious challenge in the Ascot Chase last month, the ten-year-old was quietly fancied to capitalise on a decreased hurdling mark in the two-mile five-furlong contest but ended up being beaten over 27 lengths.
However, it is true that he wasn’t fully wound up for this fiercely competitive handicap and raced with his usual enthusiasm until faltering up the testing hill at Cheltenham.
With his chasing mark left untouched, the National has always been spoken about by Moore for this horse, and he currently only needs one more defection in the entries to be guaranteed a place in the line-up.
Shattered Love – 66/1*
The once-classy Shattered Love has had a rough time since landing what is now the Marsh Novices’ Chase back in 2018 but could be set for a stab at the marathon contest on Merseyside.
The nine-year-old did win a mares’ race earlier in the season, but arrived for a challenge at the Ryanair Chase on the back of a defeat in a weak-looking Grade Two and ran accordingly to be beaten by 24 lengths into sixth.
The mare raced handily enough to the pace that day, which suggests if she turns up to Aintree she will be there to help force the usual pace, although her form over three miles plus is uninspiring, and her effort in last year’s Irish Grand National suggests she won’t stay the marathon trip.
With Tiger Roll in the race, she is certainly not going to be the owner or Gordon Elliott’s first string in the race, but Michael O’Leary does like to have a spread of runners in this and being number 28 in the entry list, is already guaranteed a run.
Former Grade 1 winner Shattered Love is back in action @ClonmelR tomorrow 🐎
Can the @gelliott_racing trained Mare get back to her best form in the Listed contest? 💪
— Odds Watch (@Odds_Watch) November 13, 2019
Tout Est Permis – 100/1*
The one of the trio who comes into this race on the back of an encouraging prep run but is surprisingly the largest-priced of the trio is the similarly Gigginstown-owned Tout Est Permis.
A classy graded winner in his heyday, the seven-year-old has been exclusively racing over hurdles recently in what looks like a bid to protect his chasing mark for a contest like this. However he has also been in encouragingly good form unlike the rest.
His run last Thursday in the Pertemps Final (3m) was arguably his most taking, when only beaten seven lengths into third place. Even more encouragingly, this has been a route taken by previous National winners before, with Don’t Push It placing in this contest in 2010 before National glory while Pineau De Re followed up at Aintree on the back of a run in this in 2014.
Tout Est Permis’ price may reflect that he is no certainty for the race despite being guaranteed a place in it.
Given Noel Meade ran him in the Irish Grand National last year, that could be a preferred target, but there have certainly been worse three-figure shots turning up on Merseyside than Tout Est Permis.
*Odds subject to change.