Trio of Grand National contenders fall short on Gold Cup Day
Three strong contenders for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National featured on Gold Cup Day at the Cheltenham Festival, but none was able to score in their final prep run before the big day at Aintree.
Bristol De Mai and Elegant Escape both took part in the Gold Cup, which was once again won by Al Boum Photo, while Rameses De Teillee lined up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Here is a look at how the three horses ran and their chances of victory in the Grand National.
Bristol De Mai (33/1* from 20/1)
Dual Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai was up with the pace for the majority of the 3m2f contest in the Gold Cup, but faded in the closing stages to finish ninth of 12 runners.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner was third in the Blue Riband event of the Festival in 2019 although he was unable to match that feat this time around.
All roads will now lead to Aintree for the talented Grade One-winning grey. He will have just 2lb less on his back than Tiger Roll. Bristol De Mai is out to 33/1* (from 20/1) for the marathon contest and is the second-highest rated horse in the field.
Elegant Escape (50/1* from 33/1)
Elegant Escape was a 66/1 outsider in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, so it would have been a big surprise if Colin Tizzard’s chaser had been able to come out on top.
The 2018 Welsh Grand National winner came under pressure just after the halfway point and struggled from there on. He came home at the rear of those who finished the course, with Jonjo O’Neill Jr on his back.
Although the Gold Cup is a real stamina test, he will probably appreciate the longer distance at Aintree in a handicap field.
Elegant Escape will need to improve his form to be in the mix in the world’s most famous steeplechase. He was pulled up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock back in February, while he was unsuccessful in his two appearances prior to that.
The eight-year-old can now be backed at 50/1* for the big race next month, with Tizzard looking to win the prestigious contest for the first time in his career.
Ramses De Teillee (25/1* from 20/1)
It had been an excellent season for Ramses De Teillee leading into the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, with back-to-back victories coming at Grade Two level. David Pipe’s runner, therefore, deserved his shot at the stayers’ contest on day four of the Festival.
Unfortunately for connections, he was unable to hit the frame, with the eight-year-old tracking the leaders before he faded with two hurdles to go.
Ramses De Teillee will be back over fences in the Grand National. His trainer won the race in 2008 with Comply or Die, while David’s father, Martin, was successful in 1994 with Miinnehoma.
The Welsh Grand National runner-up is now available at 25/1*(from 20/1) with the bookmakers as he aims to be the first grey to win the Aintree feature since Neptune Collonges in 2012.
*Odds subject to change.