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Paul Townend previews Aintree meeting and Grand National chances

| 06.04.2022

Ladbrokes ambassador Paul Townend discusses his rides at Aintree this week

Kemboy – 2.55 Aintree (Thu)

It has been so long since I have been to Aintree. I missed last year with injury, and it wasn’t on the year before so I am really looking forward to the meeting.

On Thursday I have the one ride on Kemboy in the Aintree Bowl Chase. He is the fresh horse going to the race after missing Cheltenham. His runs at Leopardstown were pretty good without being exceptional. He acts around the track, having won there before.

It will be interesting to see what mark Cheltenham left on Protektorat and Conflated. The two older boys are going fresh, my horse and Clan Des Obeaux. It is a good race. I am expecting a good run from Kemboy, the ground will suit him, and if he can reproduce his Christmas run, that should put him bang in the mix.

El Fabiolo – 2.20 Aintree (Fri)

I have two rides on Friday, starting with El Fabiolo against Jonbon in the Top Novices’ Hurdle. He was very impressive on his one run for us at Tramore. It probably wasn’t the strongest race but he was very good in winning.

He had a little setback, but he is 100% now. Again, he is the fresh horse in the race. Jonbon and First Street come here from Cheltenham and again we will see what mark it has left on them. I think the Supreme was run at such a pace with Jonbon in it that it could have left a little mark on him. He obviously has the best form but if there is any lasting impact from Cheltenham, I hope we will be good enough to pick up the mantle.

Royal Rendezvous – 4.05 Aintree (Fri)

Royal Rendezvous is my ride in the Topham. He is a Galway Plate winner, owned by the sponsors of this race, so it would be a nice winner to have. He’s top weight so it won’t be easy.

Touch wood he will take to the fences well. He is a very good jumper over normal fences so if he can get out and get into a good rhythm, I can see him running a massive race at a big price. It is hard to lump top weight around there. It shouldn’t be a problem to him but you are always open to something better handicapped in a race like that.

Grand National

We have four going for the Grand National on Saturday, with Burrows Saint, Agusta Gold, Class Conti and Brahma Bull. It is impossible to be confident going to a National but Burrows Saint ran well last year and had a live chance crossing the Melling Road and going down to the second last but from there on didn’t really get home.

He jumped well and took to the course. His form coming into the race could’ve been better. He was very disappointing in the Bobbyjo Chase, but his run before that was behind Al Boum Photo at Tramore so that was good enough form. He is carrying plenty of weight which won’t be ideal. Hopefully we get a good spin off him. He is an Irish National winner so he should stay.

The biggest threat is Any Second Now. He was very unlucky on his run last year, nearly getting brought down early and winning the Bobbyjo, he looked in really good form. Him and Escaria Ten’s form ties in together and they will be very fancied. Form goes out the window for this race, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on them.

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Andrew McDermott