Shattered Love is primed and ready to fulfil the ultimate ambition of winning the Aintree ‘Grand National’ for Irish jockey Kevin Sexton who has certainly experienced the ups and downs emotionally during the last few weeks; five weeks ago he was apparently on a short list to ride winner of the last two runnings, Tiger Roll!
Talk about the twists and turns of horse-racing this ‘National’ story tops them all and what a week it’s been with Sir Alex Ferguson twice in the hallowed winners’ enclosure.
All was set fair for Tiger Roll to make history in the ‘Worlds’ greatest horse race’ for Gordon ‘winning machine’ Elliott who, unfortunately, was sensationally banned, as previously mentioned in this column, because a foolish prank relating to him sitting on a dead horse surfaced; it impacted on morality and the British Racing Authority felt it necessary to run in tandem with a decision of the Horse Racing Ireland to issue a suspension, even though the latter organisation issued a pointed reference to ‘extenuating circumstances’ which occurred on the Emerald Isle. Nothing to do with ‘us’ whatsoever!
Gordon wasn’t at Cheltenham last month but watched ‘Tiger’ land the prestigious ‘Cross Country’ event by a staggering EIGHTEEN LENGTHS; previously the ‘evergreen’ veteran, twice successful under ‘forty-something Davy Russell, had been written off but I’m convinced he would have eclipsed the remarkable record of Red Rum, thrice successful in the Liverpool feature from five attempts in the 1970’s.
With a splendid record of versatility over hurdles/steeplechases Shattered Love (11 wins from 33 races!) fits snugly into what is required and her recent third under Jack Kennedy in a fiercely-competitive Cheltenham chase over an extended two and a half miles reads well. Several have won the ‘National’ off the back of efforts over shorter distances which serve to sharpen and put an edge on them.
Pointless trolling through ‘the field’ which includes hot-favourite Cloth Cap, foolishly referred to as a ‘cert’ in a race entailing jumping thirty fences over four and a half miles because, to all intents and purposes, this annual marathon should be seen as a bit of fun and magnificent viewing. Enjoy the spectacle as the ‘Love’ story unfolds.
There are also two all-weather fixtures scheduled on Wolverhampton tapeta (tonight) and Lingfield where 77-rated Ajrad will be viewed as a ‘cert’ for an eight-runner Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of polytrack but possibly isn’t!
Richard Hannon-trained Lafan shaped well first-up last month and is strongly-fancied but I’ll commit to time-handicap ‘tops’ Ajrad despite a 168 days absence.
Incidentally betting on Premier League football remains a tremendous ‘cash-cow’ and laying odds-on favourites is the best ‘system’ I’ve ever discovered!
Players nowadays are paid far too much money and as a consequence don’t commit as we did in a long bygone age; would you earning six-figures a week?
Selections, Lingfield, 4.25 Ajrad; Aintree 5.30 Shattered Love; 6.20 Knappers Hill (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019