Aintree Grand National Meeting 2007 

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Doumen "Optimistic" about Kelami 13/04/07

Francois Doumen believes that official assessor Phil Smith has got his figures wrong in rating L'Ami 10lb superior to stablemate Kelami and recommends punters have an each-way interest in John Halewood's horse for Saturday's John Smith's Grand National.

Tony McCoy has already gone on record as saying that he believes L'Ami (11st 8lb) has too much weight, and Doumen is inclined to agree, suggesting that Kelami, the mount of Mick Fitzgerald, is better treated with 10st 12lb.

Doumen said: “Both horses are very well and came through their final gallops satisfactorily, but I do think that Kelami is the better handicapped of the pair.

“Kelami was brought down at the first behind Amberleigh House three years ago, and, though it was unfortunate that we could not run him after he had won at Cheltenham the following season, he has since had two wind operations and could not be in better form.

“The ground was bottomless at Haydock in February, and he just could not cope with it, though I needed to be sure that was only the reason before committing him to a another National bid, so we ran him at Auteuil last time.

“And I could not have been happier with Kelami at Auteuil. He finished second to Or Noir de Somoza, who is not only the best horse in France but has since won another Grade One at home.

“If you saw the two work at home, you would wonder how the handicapper could rate them 10lb apart, and the good ground will certainly suit Kelami.

“Having said that, I would not put anyone off L'Ami. As AP says, he does have plenty of weight, but he has done nothing wrong all season, and everything has been geared around Aintree. It would be lovely to win it for JP (McManus), but either one would do.”

John Halewood, who owns Kelami, is looking for a second John Smith’s Grand National success, having triumphed with Amberleigh House three years ago.

Halewood said: “We have been getting all the right vibes from Francois, and we are all starting to get very excited. Francois was late arriving for lunch in our box today, and I hope Mick does not leave it
too late!

“Both Mick and I have already won a National, but when you have won one you want to go back and do it all over again as quickly as possible. Mick might retire if Kelami does the business, and what better way to bow out.”


Going Update

After the completion of day one of the John Smith's Grand National meeting, clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch said Aintree would be watered overnight to maintain the Good ground.

He added: "We started watering the National course immediately after the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase. We'll continue that tonight and then water the Mildmay and Hurdle courses.

"We're likely to move some hurdle rails, but we'll be reviewing that this evening."

There was unanimous praise for the groround from jockeys who were in action, and Tulloch added: “We're delighted with the reaction of jockeys who rode today. It's great when you get appreciation like that.

“The boys out on the course have done a sterling job for the last two and a half weeks, which is a long time to be watering, to keep on top of the job and keep it all balanced. I'm also very pleased that the fences jumped well.”

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