Willie Mullins stirred up a wave of debate and controversy all week with the pre-race shenanigans of will he or won’t he surrounding one of his stable stars once again. This was finally put to bed, for now anyway, with Un De Sceaux storming to victory in a thrilling renewal of Tingle Creek, edging out the brilliantly brave Sire De Grugy. The national fences were unleashed once again at Aintree and produced some thrilling races, Vieux Lion Rouge taking the feature race in yet another enthralling finish denying Henry Brooke a fairytale victory on Merseyside. Cole Harden was found wanting on his chasing debut, although he is bound to improve for the blowout Its’Afreebee made him look very ordinary.
12 00 EVENING HUSH (Evan Williams) 7/2, C1 Listed Juvenile Filies Hurdle, 2M1F, Good To Soft
This race is prone to throwing up a horse or two and Evening Hush will go onto continue this trend over the next couple of seasons. The ground undoubtedly suited the 3YO perfectly, and her runs on the flat were encouraging enough. Her hurdles experience also showed and the 21L margin didn’t flatter her, she was a class apart from some well regarded youngsters. There is undoubtedly plenty more to come from her – and for a small stable a long-term project connections will pray they get right.
1 55 ALTIOR (N Henderson) 2/7, Grade 1 Novices Chase, 1M7.5F, Good To Soft
It took a while for Altior to get up to speed as Noel Fehily was perhaps a bit too relaxed in letting Charbel and Marracudja fight it out at the fore and there were a couple of hairy moments in the early stages at Sandown. However, the second half more than made up for it. Once stirred into action he travelled sweetly and jumped much better over the fences. A few out he still had some work to do, but he made light work of a very good yardstick in Charbel coming up the hill. 6/4 is very short this far out from the Arkle, but then Min looks like the only sign of any opposition come March…