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Junior Boosts National Claims in Grimthorpe
03/03/12

1 Ikorodu Road 3/1
2 Junior 11/4F
3 Benny Be Good 13/2
NR: West End Rocker (IRE)
6 ran Distances: shd, 20l, 23l
TIME 6m 21.30s (fast by 3.70s)

Junior reinforced David Pipe's belief in his John Smith's Grand National chances, despite having to settle for second place behind Ikorodu Road on his return to fences at Doncaster.

Junior
© Racehorse Photos

Junior
The nine-year-old will not run again before Aintree next month after going down fighting in a tight finish to the Download William Hill From The App-Store Grimthorpe Chase.

Tom Scudamore set out to make all aboard 11-4 favourite, but 5lb claimer Robbie Dunne sent Pentiffic to the front at the fourth fence. The bottom weight was well clear turning for home but the distress signals were out before the second-last as Junior and Ikorodu Road made headway into his lead.

A tired leap at the last saw Pentiffic crash out, leaving Junior, who neatly sidestepped him, and Ikorodu Road (3-1) to battle it out on the run-in, with the latter getting the verdict by a short head to give trainer Matt Sheppard his biggest success. However, it was Junior who caught the eye with David Pipe's charge being promoted to 10-1 joint-favourite for Aintree with Ladbrokes and William Hill.

Speaking from Newbury, Pipe said: "I haven't had chance to see the race yet, but he must have run a blinder and it's all systems go for Aintree."

Scudamore, who was stood down for the rest of the day after a fall on Mezzanisi in the following race, said: "I'm delighted, but he could do with another mile and a quarter. What a trial for the National he has run. All roads lead to Aintree."

Tim Palin, racing manager for Junior's owners Middleham Park, said: "It was a great run. We've just been beaten by a horse with a lower weight than us. He was very adept when the leader fell at the last. It was a very good trial for Aintree and he won't run again before the National."

Ikorodu Road
© Racehorse Photos

Ikorodu Road
Ikorodu Road could now be aimed at the Scottish National at Ayr, with his trainer saying: "He's been really unlucky. His whole profile hasn't been good over the years. He's run some big races, then got handicapped out of it. He's not that simple to train and he needs a small yard like ours. When he goes over four miles you'll see a lot better horse. If he goes up 10lb he'll go for the Scottish National."

Winning rider Charlie Poste said: "He's got plenty of solid place form and he's just a resolute galloper. His coat has blossomed and he's got quite an engine there. As soon as he gets to the front he starts to pull up. He's a horse that has always threatened to win a big race. We'd have got to the leader. He was treading water."

However, Poste was banned for four days (March 17-20) for using his whip with excessive frequency.

 

Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Ikorodu Road
M Sheppard
C Poste
10st 0lbs
3 - 1
Winner
2
Junior
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 8lbs
11 - 4
Short Head
3
Benny Be Good
K G Reveley
J Reveley
11st 12lbs
13 - 2
20 lengths
4
Mac Aeda
J M Jefferson
B Hughes
10st 0lbs
10 - 3
23 lengths
5
Neptune Equester
B Ellison
James Best
10st 1lbs
11 - 2
13 lengths
Fell
Pentiffic
Miss V Williams
R T Dunne
10st 0lbs
12 - 1
NonRunner
West End Rocker
A King
W Hutchinson
11st 4lbs
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