Friday, March 11, 2011

Sir Brian heading south to Aintree

Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell is enjoying a fine season with her Silver By Nature looking a serious contender for honours in the forthcoming John Smith’s Grand National on April 9, but the staying chaser will have company in the horsebox south from Kinross following the news that recent impressive Kelso scorer Bold Sir Brian will also be in action at the Aintree Festival, writes Elliot Slater.

A horse who has always been considered an exciting long term prospect, Bold Sir Brian has measured up to expectations rather sooner than connections had anticipated much to the delight of those giving horse racing tips. The winner of a bumper at Ayr on his racecourse bow in December 2009, the Brian Boru gelding ran well to be second under his penalty in a Kelso bumper three months later. After being roughed off for the rest of the season the five-year-old returned to the fray to make his novice hurdles debut at Wetherby in November, running well for a long way and shaping as if the run would do him good in finishing fourth to Palace Jester.

It’s always easy with hindsight, but maybe the hint should have been taken when the always down-to-earth Russell entered Bold Sir Brian in the Grade 2 Totepool Premier Kelso Hurdle last weekend, a huge step up in class for a horse with just one hurdles run to his name. Both UK and Irish horse racing tips didn’t mention the horse, sent off at odds of 20/1 under regular rider Peter Buchanan, the five-year-old made steady ground from the rear of the field and was produced to challenge the useful Desert Cry going to the last, before showing a ready change of gear to come away to score by nearly four-lengths.

There was no fluke at all about his Kelso win and Russell is now prepared to take on the best around and bid for the Grade 2 John Smith’s Mersey Novices Hurdle on Grand National day, the race won last year by star performer Peddlers Cross. It will be a surprise if Bold Sir Brian doesn’t give a very good account of himself.

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