Who will win the 2023 Grand National based on previous trends?


The Grand National is the most famous steeplechase in the world, attracting millions of viewers and punters each year. As the event approaches, there is always a lot of speculation about which horses are most likely to win, and which factors are the most important for success. In this article, we will examine some of the key trends from recent years and discuss which horses might be best positioned to win in 2023.

Age has been a key factor in recent Grand Nationals, with six of the last seven winners being either eight or nine years old. This bodes well for horses such as Corach Rambler, Le Milos, Longhouse Poet, Our Power, and last year’s winner Noble Yeats, who was the first seven-year-old to win the race since before World War II. While it is possible for horses outside this age range to win, recent history suggests that younger or older horses may struggle.

Weight is another important consideration, and top weight has not won the race this century. Ted Walsh, the trainer of Any Second Now, has been critical of the weight allocated to his horse, who has finished third and second in the last two runnings. Walsh’s horse is off 11st 12lb, while Noble Yeats and Galvin carry just 1lb less. At the other end of the scale, no winner has carried less than 10st 3lb since Bobbyjo in 1999, which could be a concern for horses such as Hill Sixteen, Gabbys Cross, Recite A Prayer, Eva’s Oscar, and Our Power.

Form is always a crucial factor in the Grand National, and recent history suggests that winners tend to have won a race earlier in the season. Seven of the last nine winners had already won a race before Aintree, which is not a good sign for horses like Mr Incredible, Vanillier, Lifetime Ambition, Royal Pagaille, Roi Mage, The Big Breakaway, The Shunter, and Mister Coffey. However, three of the last five winners came into Aintree off the back of a win, which could bode well for Corach Rambler, Delta Work, Gaillard Du Mesnil, Any Second Now, Longhouse Poet, Our Power, Ain’t That A Shame, and Coko Beach.

Experience over the National fences is often seen as a key advantage, but recent history suggests that this is not necessarily the case. Nine of the last twelve winners had never run around the Grand National track, including the winners of the last two runnings. This could be a positive sign for horses like Corach Rambler, Gaillard Du Mesnil, Mr Incredible, Le Milos, and Our Power. However, five of the last ten winners had won over the National fences or recorded a top-six finish in the Coral Gold Cup, Scottish or Irish Nationals. This is a boost for Le Milos and Corach Rambler, who finished first and fourth in Newbury’s Coral Gold Cup in November.

Cheltenham Festival form is always a good indicator of Grand National success, with half of the last ten winners having run at the festival on their final start. Noble Yeats was ninth in the Ultima Handicap Chase en route to success at Aintree, which bodes well for this year’s winner Corach Rambler. Delta Work is attempting to emulate Tiger Roll by following up his win in the Cross Country with victory in the National, something his former stablemate managed in 2018 and 2019. Many Clouds was sixth behind Coneygree in the 2015 Gold Cup before winning the National on his next start, which is encouraging for Noble Yeats, who stayed on for fourth in last month’s Gold Cup.

Our verdict: Corach Rambler

Corach Rambler comes into the race on the back of a back-to-back win in the Ultima Handicap Chase, the same race that Noble Yeats won before taking last year’s National. Trainer Lucinda Russell has a successful track record in the race, having won it in 2017 with One For Arthur. At nine years old and carrying 10st 5lb, Corach Rambler is the right age and weight for success. Although lacking experience over Aintree’s National fences, this is not seen as a negative for the current ante-post market leader. In fact, favourites have had a decent record in the race, with six favourites or joint-favourites winning since 1996, despite the large field size and potential in-running drama.



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“He’s made his money for the year, and for next year as well!” exclaimed David Menuisier, the trainer of the seven-year-old Migration, who defied history to win the Lincoln Handicap on the opening day of the turf season.

The burden of running off a higher mark than all the others in the field had been too much for every horse who had tried since 2004, but Migration defied 9st 12lb, less Benoit de la Sayette’s 3lb claim, to win the £150,000 showpiece.

“We felt he was so unlucky in the Balmoral at Ascot, he went along the rail and got blocked. He was running off 109 so I always felt he could win a heritage handicap. We’ve taken our time with him and I genuinely felt we had him spot on,” Menuisier said.

“He’s so lightly raced, he doesn’t have much mileage and he’s been giving us the right signals all the way through. We were actually quite confident,” he added.

Heavy ground might be expected to take its toll on a topweight, but Menuisier said: “He’s a mudlark, he absolutely loves it, so when the others stop he keeps going.

“I was with one of the partners during the race and I said ‘he’s travelling better than everybody else, now it’s going to be a matter of getting the luck to get through’ – and he did. The rest is history really.”

As in the Dubai World Cup last week, Simon and Ed Crisford suffered the agony of being mown down late on with a big prize at stake. Stablemate Awaal was unable to resist Migration seven days on, while Algiers could not cope with Ushba Tesoro at Meydan.

“It’s the name of the game,” Simon Crisford said. “You’ve got to take it on the chin. Awaal has run really well, I’m very happy with him. We’ve got a lovely horse for the rest of the season ahead of us. He likes that ground and we might step him up in distance.”

George Boughey, who trained third-place finisher Baradar, was also pleased with his horse’s performance. “I’m very happy,” he said. “He’s run a big race and I think seven furlongs is his ideal – he bolted up here over seven on this ground. Kevin said he just didn’t quite see it out as well as possibly stouter-bred horses.”

Menuisier has his sights set on bigger prizes for Migration now. “I think this is the end of handicaps and I hope he can go to the next level,” he said. “We’ll have to look for some black type now. We’ll be patient because he runs well fresh and he’s made his money for the year – and for next year as well!”



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Betting gives clues to Constitution Hill’s future.

Over the weekend, did we gain any insight into the future of Constitution Hill? I believe we did.

If you’re a regular reader of the Racing Post, you’ll have enjoyed a column David Jennings wrote in the paper on Saturday. In it, he laughed off the idea that the reigning champion hurdler might be sent over fences in the fall. He likes the romantic aspect of the concept, but his conclusion was: “There is not a hope in hell”.

However, DJ did not end there. He persuaded Paddy Power to open a market on the subject, and as the weekend draws to a close, I am surprised to discover that it is still live in their “Horse racing specials” section under the heading: “What Obstacles Will Constitution Hill Run Over On His 1st Start Of The 2023/24 NH Season?”

Evidently, the company’s odds makers believed that my colleague had everything wrong. They used numbers 8-11 to say that the first run would be over fences, and even money said it would be over hurdles. Mr. Jennings said, “I can’t see the evens lasting too long,” and he was right.

When I jabbed my nose in on Sunday morning, the market had a seriously unique look. ‘ Hurdles had dropped to 4-7, while Fences had dropped to 5-4.

Naturally, this is a specials market, but I don’t think it’s one of the most active specials markets. The odds that are available have a healthy over-round, and large stakes are not accepted. Therefore, the significance of what can be deduced from this “plunge” is limited.

I believe we are receiving a lesson in realism that is very similar to what David was preaching in his column. Even though everyone would like to see Constitution Hill tackle fences in the upcoming term, that is not likely to happen. It’s like there are obstacles that need to be overcome along the way.

Paddy Power’s kin maybe focused on the desires of the pony’s proprietor, Michael Buckley, cited last week as saying: “My ambition would be to equal what Dawn Run did and try to win a Gold Cup”. However, I can think of at least two prerequisites before Constitution Hill leaps a fence in public: Nicky Henderson’s way of thinking must be circumvented by Buckley, and the horse must school gracefully over the larger obstacles.

It appears that the two men will chew it up this summer, which should be a lot of fun. Henderson seems pretty stressed out about the actual racing, but there is nothing better than planning for your multitalented champion racehorse and enjoying your options knowing that no final decision will be needed for months.

I picture them sitting down to talk about it over whisky as a hotel in the Caribbean gets darker. I might have been sent after them in the hope of listening in from some nearby armchair in the good old days of expense-account journalism.

In any case, I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion. The trainer, who is naturally conservative, may be won over by the owner’s argument. It’s a tempting idea to participate in a Dawn Run. Even intoxicating.

However, for Constitution Hill to actually participate in a novice chase, everything needs to go very well. The instinct of everyone involved will be to stick with hurdles for another season—the safe, conventional option—at the first sign of any bump in the road.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong, including a hair-raising schooling session, a setback in training, a dry spell of weather that means there’s no give in the ground when a suitable novice chase is being sought, or some other factor I haven’t foreseen.

Because of this, even money was the wrong price for Constitution Hill to overcome obstacles in the upcoming term. If you don’t have anything better to do with that fiver, the revised odds of 4-7 might still be worth a try.



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Aidan O’Brien says that Kyprios and Statuette will miss the first half of the season. “I don’t think he’ll make the Gold Cup.”

Aidan O’Brien hopes that Emily Dickinson can develop into a live contender for the staying showpiece at Royal Ascot in Kyprios’ absence from June’s Ascot Gold Cup due to injury.

When he was just four years old, Kyprios was the best stayer of 2022, winning all six of his starts, including a historic Gold Cup rerun. He was anticipated to once again dominate the division this year after concluding his campaign with an astonishing 20-length victory in the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend.

O’Brien had hoped that a joint infection would clear up quickly, so the Gold Cup will come too soon.

O’Brien said: “I don’t think Kyprios is going to make the Gold Cup. He got an inner infection, inside in the joint. It’s an unusual thing for it to come inside the joint. The joint had to be flushed. Then his bloods were still up after it was flushed so that meant there was further infection in the joint and they had to flush it again.

“It’s like one of your own joints, sometimes it takes a while to settle down and that’s where we’re at with them at the moment. It happened a month ago and it’s just not settling down yet. Sometimes those things can settle very quickly and sometimes they don’t.”

When asked who might fill the void left by Kyprios in the staying division for the first half of the season, the master trainer replied: “We were very impressed with Emily Dickinson at the Curragh on her last run. She grew another leg when we upped her to two miles. Broome will be there as well, although I’m not sure whether he will stretch out that far in trip, but we’ll certainly look at Goodwood and the Irish Leger and Melbourne Cup for him. Changingoftheguard could be another, but he will start over middle distances.”

Statuette is another potential Ballydoyle star who will miss the beginning of the season. O’Brien has ruled the unbeaten Justify filly out of the Classic despite being a 6-1 outsider for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas.

He said: “Statuette has had a hold up and I don’t think she’s going to make the Guineas. We’re going to go gently with her. She’ll be back for the second half of the season.”

The Ballydoyle team in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas will now be led by Meditate. She is 100-30 second #1 with Paddy Power behind 11-4 market pioneer Tahiyra.



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William Haggas on track for a Lincoln double bid, but well-fancied Cambridgeshire winner to miss out.

Al Mubhir, the pre-post favourite for Saturday’s Lincoln Handicap (3.35 Doncaster), was one of 69 confirmed bets, but Majestic, the Cambridgeshire winner from last season, is not guaranteed a start.

When Lattam stormed home to win the Irish Lincolnshire on Saturday, trainer William Haggas, who trains Al Mubhir, completed the first leg of the Lincoln double and hopes for a famous double.

Al Mubhir, who won a competitive handicap at Haydock in October but hasn’t been seen since, is expected to weigh 9st 2lb in the £77,310 race on Saturday.

However, in a race with a maximum field of 22, Majestic’s connections will need a little luck with the five-year-old number 27 on the list. Majestic is a general 10-1 shot.

When Majestic won the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September, he became Mick Channon’s final big-race winner. His son Jack had hoped that Majestic would serve as a springboard for a successful campaign.

Despite the appearances of Muraad, Great Max, Magical Morning, and ante-post fancy Akhu Najla at the five-day stage, he still needs five horses to win.

After a successful winter campaign at Meydan with Dubai World Cup runner-up Algiers, Simon and Ed Crisford will be looking to Awaal to kick off their British season in style. In 2022, they had their best season together.

He won two of his four beginnings in his presentation season, effectively handling a Redcar handicap on his last run of the year. Given that his Redcar victory came on heavy ground, his connections will be pleased by a wet forecast since he has been gelded over the winter.

Al Dasim and George Boughey both had successful winters in the Middle East. Baradar, who won his first start for the stable in November over seven furlongs at Doncaster, is another well-known name in the ante-post market.

He was trained by Johnny Murtagh in the past and was intended for events like the Buckingham Palace Stakes and the Ahonoora Handicap at Galway last summer. Despite his reassessed mark, Boughey will hope that he can cause some damage.



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Officials ‘not worried’ despite alarming drop in Cheltenham crowd numbers, which are attributed to the cost of living crisis.

According to Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong, it is too early to draw firm conclusions from the dramatic drop in attendance over the first three days of the Cheltenham Festival. However, he does believe that the ongoing strain of the cost of living crisis and disruptions to transportation have both contributed to the decline.

In order to reduce congestion and enhance the customer experience, Jockey Club Racecourses decided to limit the meeting’s capacity to 68,500 participants per day. However, attendance numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday were significantly lower than that, and Thursday’s 62,429 participants – the largest gate of the week prior to Friday’s sold-out Boodles Gold Cup card – marked a 15% decrease from last year and was more than 6,000 below capacity.

Energumene’s back-to-back victories in the Champion Chase were witnessed by only 50,387 people, a 21% decrease from his first victory in the race a year ago. Wednesday was the quietest day in a number of years.

Tuesday: 60,284 (68,567)
Wednesday: 50,387 (64,431)
Thursday: 62,429 (73,754)

“I think the industrial action has had an effect through the week and it’s hard to quantify the difference that makes,” said Armstrong. “Certainly making it that bit harder to get here doesn’t help. It’s a little bit early to tell overall. There’s a lot of noise in the numbers because of the strike action. Thursday was quite a good crowd and today [Friday] is sold out.”

Armstrong added: “It will be interesting to unpick that and understand which people were here, how the different types of crowd differ and where they’re coming from between this year and last. That will be part of the work the Jockey Club do after the event.”

In the year 2022, the year before the Covid pandemic, attendance at racetracks decreased by 14% compared to 2019, but Cheltenham’s numbers remained strong.

High level deals during the current year’s gathering were accounted for to be solid, with the sold-out finishes paperwork for the marginally decreased limit on Gold Cup day going up toward the finish of January interestingly.

Armstrong said of the figures for the first three days at Cheltenham: “I’m not particularly worried about it. I think Aintree is selling well but we’re going to continue to see the effects of the cost of living crisis. This time last year we’d only just had the invasion of Ukraine and it hadn’t yet come through and started to affect people in their pocket. Now you’ve got the full effect of cost of living crisis, fuel costs, all the things we know all about that are affecting disposable income.”

Narrative reports are that the Rider Club’s expressed point of making the experience more agreeable for racegoers has been supported by the fall in numbers, particularly in the vitally open regions.

What you see is that the numbers in the lower cost enclosures are the ones that are under threat, whereas hospitality is absolutely packed out, with every space gone,” he said: “What you’re probably seeing is those people with pressure on their disposable income are just finding it that little bit harder. People might now only go one or two days, they will change their patterns of behaviour if they’re under personal financial pressure.

“We’ve had some encouraging signs earlier on in the year with other meetings that have gone well. It is right that Cheltenham is a bellwether to some extent as to what we might see later on.”



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“A very good result” surprise as Paddy Power boosted by Galopin Des Champs win.

An all-too-predictable Willie Mullins big-race double ought to have turned the tide firmly against the layers on the final day of the meeting if an unpredictable Thursday had allowed bookmakers to draw back to about the same level as Cheltenham Festival punters.

However, established businesses’ responses were somewhat more mixed. Paddy Power depicted the triumph of Galopin Des Champions in the Boodles Gold Cup as “an excellent outcome,” while William Slope portrayed the 7-5 victor as “not unreasonably solid.” Coral described the festival as “one to remember for many punters” at the conclusion of the final day.

In the betting for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, Mullins had the first three horses, and earlier in the week, Blood Destiny had overtaken Lossiemouth as the market leader. Lossiemouth went into the day as a 13-8 favorite, and the crowd barely wavered in their support for Paul Townend’s horse, who was roared home at 11-8.

Before Mullins and Townend made no mistake with the classy Galopin Des Champs, bookmakers received some respite with 33-1 winners of the County Hurdle and 18-1 winners of the Albert Bartlett, respectively.

Coral’s David Stevens: “Lossiemouth gave favourite backers the perfect start to the busiest betting day of the festival and while the next two winners, Faivoir and Stay Away Fay, were much harder to find, Galopin Des Champs’ many backers had plenty of time to cheer the seven-year-old home as he went clear up the famous hill.

“A winning favourite in the second biggest betting race of the entire year is never going to be a good result for the bookmakers and the Lossiemouth-Galopin Des Champs double was also extremely popular, ensuring this year’s festival will be one to remember for many punters.”

Constitution Hill, the shortest-priced winner in the history of the Champion Hurdle, won the National Hunt Chase and the championship races on Tuesday and Wednesday, while El Fabiolo, trained by Mullins, justified his 11-10 odds in the Arkle.

The losses of Powerful Potter and Shishkin on Thursday provided the challenge with some similarity to value, before Friday by and by turned reasonably definitively for supporters.

Given that the well-backed 15-8 second favorite Impervious defeated the Mullins and Townend favorite Allegorie De Vassy in the Mrs. Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, even the defeat of Allegorie De Vassy provided little comfort to bookmakers. However, William Hill and Paddy Power reported surprising victories on the day.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Irish eyes must have been smiling on the bookies all right in the Gold Cup as despite the winner being favourite, amazingly it was a very good result for us, although some shrewd punters did have some ante-post run-ups on him.”

William Hill’s Lee Phelps was of a similar sentiment, saying: “Favourite Galopin Des Champs winning the Gold Cup wasn’t a bad result at all. He was wrapped up in a few costly multiples, but in the race itself he wasn’t overly strong.

“It was a tricky day for punters, with turn-ups in the Albert Bartlett, County and Hunter Chase, and we’ve ended the festival in front. The costliest thing for us this year has been long-standing ante-post multiples. We’ve seen a number of punters pocketing tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds thanks to some well-judged accumulators and that has taken the gloss off what has been a solid week.”

Among the organisations costlier liabilities was a six-figure payout thanks to two long-range wagers that happened as expected on Friday for a similar foresighted client.

The client received £26,520 from a £10 each-way double placed on Christmas Eve 2021 with Constitution Hill at 25-1 and Galopin Des Champs at 33-1. The client also received £74,722 from a £10 four-fold placed in March on the same two horses and Desert Crown to win the Derby and Tuesday in the Oaks.



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‘I’ve no excuses but it was unlike him’ – Nicky Henderson perplexed by Shishkin’s defeat.

After the even-money favorite was defeated by Envoi Allen in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, jockey Nico de Boinville said the race “never really went right” for Shishkin. Trainer Nicky Henderson said “he never looked comfortable” during the 2m412f Grade 1 race on Thursday.

Shishkin, who had been highly anticipated to win the festival for a third time and bounced back with a 16-length victory in the Ascot Chase last month, surged to the top of the Ryanair market in the absence of Allaho, the two-time winner.

At Cheltenham, however, he was unable to settle into a rhythm and made a costly error at the third fence, but he rallied to finish second despite having difficulty finding racing room.

De Boinville said: “It never really went right from when the tapes went up. Even down at the start, he was just curling up on me a bit and sitting back on his haunches a bit. Then over the first two, he just wasn’t taking me anywhere.

“At Ascot I was able to jump and travel and dictate where I wanted to be. Whereas this time I was pushed here, there and everywhere. Davy [Russell] was trying to push me out into the car park and I had to switch inside him and try to get a run up there.

“He was just hanging a bit left and just wasn’t the same horse we saw at Ascot, but we know what he can do. We’ll get him home, check him over, get him absolutely spot on and I’m sure we’ll be going three miles at Aintree.

“All credit to the horse – he’s very genuine. He made an error down the hill and managed to get back into second. He had every right to be pulled up or tailed off – he’s a very genuine horse and we know what he can do on his good days. There will be plenty more days to come.”

Before being pulled up in the Champion Chase the previous year and having a wind op after finishing third in the Tingle Creek in December, Shishkin had never lost a fences race.

Nicky Henderson conceded Shishkin was never truly in conflict yet was satisfied with the manner in which he got done and is as of now looking forward to Aintree.

The trainer said: “He wasn’t really travelling like you hoped he would have been, even early on he just didn’t look as though he was that happy about it. He’s done really well to finish where he has – maybe I should have listened to all those people who said go three and a quarter miles, as he looked as though he wants it!

“He was going markedly left and that’s not like him. His last run was at Ascot and if you go left around there you end up in Windsor Castle, so he was fine there.

“He never looked comfortable, but look where he’s finished and how he’s finished. He’s finished really strong. He did make one bad mistake coming down the hill. He got back into it though, so he’s determined if nothing else. They’ve done very well to finish second.”

Henderson pinpointed the Betway Bowl over three miles at Aintree next month as Shishkin’s next target, and added: “You could say it came too soon after Ascot as it was a bit of a rush, but I certainly want to run him in four weeks’ time. Going over three miles in the Bowl is the obvious thing. At least it’s left-handed!

“We’ve got to sort out why he was going left-handed. It’s not like him to do that. He schooled on Monday and you’ve never seen a horse jump five fences straighter, quicker and more narrow. I’ve no excuses but it was unlike him to do that.

“He’s back and he’s all right and he’s finished his race really well, which was the encouraging thing. If he was going backwards you’d be very worried but he was flying home and he wanted to finish his race. We’ll take him to pieces and tighten a few bolts and then we’ll go to Aintree and look forward to him.”



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‘My god he won easy’ – Marine Nationale defeats Facile Vega to win Supreme in style.

At 9-2, Marine Nationale defeated Facile Vega to win the first race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. The race was won by Irish-trained horses, with the first eight going home.

Marine Nationale, who was owned and trained by Barry Connell, who had spoken highly of him prior to Cheltenham, tagged on to the back of the well-backed favorite Facile Vega and went smoothly through the race.

Facile Vega sprinted through the field to take the lead at the final hurdle and kicked clear between the two remaining obstacles. However, Marine Nationale, who won under jockey Michael O’Sullivan after a questionable jump from Facile Vega over the last, quickly chased him down.

O’Sullivan said: “That’s unbelievable and a massive relief, for Barry for having the faith in me and for the team at home – they work so hard.

“The horse is just incredible. Turning in there I wasn’t sure what I was holding on to but my god he actually won easy. Barry stuck his chest out and he was right.”

Connell, a former stockbroker who rode as an amateur rider, said the performance gave him “an unbelievable buzz”. He added: “I put my neck up above the parapet about six months ago before the Royal Bond and said I’d never had a horse as quick as this.

“I knew coming into the race I had the best horse in the race and the best rider in the race and everything went according to plan. We’re coming back here for the double tomorrow [with Good Land in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle].”

Facile Vega came in second, followed by Diverge, whose stablemate Diverge was trained by Willie Mullins. The British-trained runners’ first home was Strong Leader, who finished ninth.



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The Paddy Power Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) at Cheltenham on January 1st could provide some Cheltenham Festival tips.

This Grade 2 race, more commonly referred to as the Dipper Novices’ Chase, has a history of locating festival winners, and this year’s race appeared to be up to par.

In the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, for which he is no bigger than 5-1 and only behind Gerri Colombe in the betting, the Real Whacker, who scored at 10-1, put on a bold show from the front and will benefit from his accurate jumping.

Other eyecatchers

At Cheltenham, the Real Whacker was able to lose 3 pounds to the second (Monmiral) and third (Thunder Rock). The former was making his second start in a chase after finishing second to the Arkle favorite Jonbon in his first start. Since then, he was dissatisfied in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, and it’s possible that his connections have decided to give him a break so that he can keep his novice status for the following season.

Given that he came from the back of the five-runner field, Olly Murphy’s Thunder Rock might improve his Dipper performance. In the Scilly Isles, he changed form with Monmiral and is now going the right way over fences. He can still compete in handicaps and Grade 1 races.



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