Following closely on from my first Cheltenham Festival runner, I was delighted to find out that Lawney Hill had decided to send MINELLA THEATRE to AINTREE for a run over the big fences in the famous Topham Trophy on Friday of the Grand National Meeting.
It is fair to say that MINELLA had been disappointing so far for us so I arrived at AINTREE with hopes that he would jump safely round and nothing more. Aintree didn't disappoint with the Liverpool ladies spectacular in their amazing high heels, false eyelashes and very flimsy dresses!!!. We found our way to the Owners and Trainers Stand with a great view over the course. MINELLA struggled to keep up with the ferocious pace over the first 2 or 3 fences but seemed to be jumping really well and it wasn't long before his jumping allowed him to pass a few of the stragglers. As ALWAYS WAINING moved forward to complete his record breaking 3rd win in the race, MINELLA was in 17th place jumping the second last but started to pass horses and was 12th jumping the last. He then flew up the straight passing horses with ease as he dashed into 6th, just failing to catch 5th by a nose.
David Bass came to talk to us afterwards and was delighted with his first ever run over the fences and was certain that MINELLA could have got close to the winners with an extra 4f to run. Immediate thoughts were to come back in November for the Becher Chase but MINELLA will now have a nice rest before we see how he is in the Autumn.
GRAND NATIONAL DAY was a very exciting but ultimately disappointing day for Middleham Park Racing with JUNIOR getting worked up with the occasion and the long delay before over jumping and coming down at the second. It was an honour to share the day with MPR and Junior's owners and I'm sure he will be back for more big races next season.
I was lucky enough to be connected with 2 runners in the AINTREE LEGENDS CHARITY RACE that opened GRAND NATIONAL DAY, with PRIVATE STORY ridden by GRAHAM THORNER and JUST LILLE ridden by CARL LLEWELLYN (who rode my first ever winner all those years ago). Neither horse ran up to form but this was all about being involved on this wonderful day.
Thursday 19th April saw MAD MOOSE go back to Cheltenham with Top weight in a Novice Handicap over 2m 5f. A late change of plans meant that I was able to attend and the torrential rain I had encountered on my journey had made the ground very testing by race time. Sam arrived in the Parade Ring and told us that he was going to conserve MOOSE'S stamina by creeping round the back as he was convinced that 2 front runners would take each other on and not get home. In the race, 2 went on but MOOSE was struggling to jump out of the bad ground and was tailed off in last at the top of the hill. In typical Sam style ha got after MOOSE, who started to run on really strongly and had close to a 15 length 3rd as the front 2 started to tire. 8 lengths down at the last, MOOSE flew past the weary leaders to snatch first place on the line under an inspired ride from the very talented SAM TWISTON-DAVIES, to screams of 'Go on Moosie' from the Owners Viewing Area.
NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL A DREAM!!!