Work In Progress to shrug off penalty in Aintree Hurdle
The 3.00 at Aintree on Sunday is the Molson Coors Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles with nine runners set to face the starter.
Work In Progress
The one to beat here is Work In Progress, a five-year-old son of Westerner out of a mare by The Parson.
He was second in a point-to-point before joining Dan Skelton and caught the eye when finishing runner-up to Saint Charles in a novice hurdle at Doncaster. He looked held by Ivy Gate at Sandown next time when falling at the final flight before disappointing in a handicap at Ayr.
Skelton put him away for the season and he reappeared at Kempton last week where he beat Western Way by eight lengths. He was heavily backed and was always going strongly for Harry Skelton, being eased in the closing stages. A 6lbs penalty does not look sufficient to prevent him from following up on Sunday.
Nicky Henderson was among the winners at Cheltenham on Saturday and he provides the main danger here in Hunters Hoof. The six-year-old has won his last two races in the hands of Nico de Boinville. He got off the mark here in October last year but did not reappear until February where he beat Rock Of Leon by three and a quarter lengths.
Henderson also saddles Bear’s Affair who carries top weight here. He loves this course and three of his eight victories have come at Aintree. His most recent success was in May when beating Samingarry over an extended three miles. He is up 3lbs in the handicap but Freddie Mitchell takes off 5lbs.
Charlie Longsdon saddles A Vos Gardes, a French-bred gelding by Kapgarde out of a Panoramic mare. He won bumper races at Bangor and Ascot and got off the mark over hurdles at Doncaster in January. He was second to the useful Different Gravey at Huntingdon in a Listed Hurdle and finished behind the same horse at Ayr on his most recent start. Richard Johnson takes the ride and he also has to be considered a threat.
Jonjo O’Neill’s stable is represented by Box Office, third when heavily backed in a valuable hurdle at Sandown in the spring. He looked in need of the outing when only sixth at Chepstow earlier this month. Pine Creek was second in the Ladbroke Hurdle in December and his only subsequent outing was in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. He is yet to win beyond two miles but the stable is in great form and he should run well.
Work In Progress 3.00 Aintree Sunday @4.50 Sportsbet