Big Buck's and Long Run Among Entries for Aintree
Cheltenham Festival heroes are poised light up the first day of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting with totesport Gold Cup winner Long Run, Ladbrokes World Hurdle legend Big Buck’s and impressive Triumph Hurdle victor Zarkandar engaged in Liverpool Day’s three Grade One contests.
Long Run, also victorious in the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton in January, is among 13 entries for the £150,000 Grade One totesport Bowl (3.05pm) on the three-day John Smith’s Grand National meeting’s opening day, Thursday, April 7, in which he could renew rivalry with superstar Denman, runner-up in last month’s Gold Cup.
Deep Purple is another engaged in the contest over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay Course and will also be engaged in the two and half-mile £175,000 Grade One John Smith’s Melling Chase (3.05pm) the following day.
Deep Purple, successful in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase and Grade Two Peterborough Chase last season, was sixth in the 2010 John Smith’s Melling Chase after breaking blood vessels during the race, and ran well to be third in the Grade One Ascot Chase on unsuitably soft going behind Riverside Theatre in February.
Trainer Evan Williams revealed today: “The plan is to run Deep Purple in either the totesport Bowl or the John Smith’s Melling Chase the next day and we’ll just monitor things before making a decision.
“It was far too soft for his liking at Ascot last time and I thought he ran a very good race given the conditions. Fingers crossed the spring ground will be a lot more up his street.
“He is in good order and he has run well at Aintree in the past. He likes the old place and it has always been the plan to take him there after Ascot.”
Deep Purple finished second in the John Smith’s Manifesto Novices’ Chase at the 2009 meeting.
The totesport Bowl entries also include last year’s totesport Bowl victor What A Friend, dual John Smith’s Melling Chase victor Voy Por Ustedes (2008 & 2009) and the progressive Midnight Chase, fifth to Long Run at Cheltenham.
A thrilling renewal of the £100,000 Grade One Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle (2.30pm) is on the cards with impressive Paul Nicholls-trained Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Zarkandar among 18 entries.
Triumph Hurdle third Grandouet, Grade One winner Houblon Des Obeaux and Grade Two victor Local Hero are also engaged.
Liverpool Day also features the John Smith’s Fox Hunter’s Chase over the Grand National Course in which 2010 Cheltenham Foxhunters’ winner Baby Run could attempt to make amends for unseating at the sixth in last season’s Aintree contest.
The 26 entries also include My Way De Solzen, winner of the 2006 Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the 2007 Grade One Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, who returned to action with victory in a Hereford hunter chase on March 23.
The £75,000 Grade Two totepool Manifesto Novices Chase (4.50pm) over two and half miles has 15 entries, among them the classy contenders Wishfull Thinking, Ghizao and Medermit, while there are 69 entries for the £40,000 Listed Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (5.25pm) and 32 entries for the £60,000 Grade Three Matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase (4.15pm).
Liverpool Day provides cracking entertainment away from the racing action too with Knotty Ash superstar Ken Dodd opening the John Smith’s Grand National meeting alongside headline band, The Farm.
Other bands on stage that day are The Lady Killers, The Merseycats, The Paul Kappa Band and Alternative Radio. West Everton Super Strings, a youth ensemble supported by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, will also perform.
MD Productions is showcasing the city’s Britain’s Got Talent faces, the Old Swan Dance Troupe, who reached the semi-final of the ITV show in 2007 and 2009.
The 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting will open with a specially-commissioned fanfare. Composed by West Kirby-based Ian Stephens, it will be performed by a brass ensemble from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
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