Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mome pulls up but is still on course for Aintree

Mon Mome, the 2009 John Smith's Grand National winner who is being prepared for a repeat assault on the 'world's greatest steeplechase', ran well below expectations at Haydock on Saturday in the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase but connections put his below-par effort down to the desperate state of the ground and have already drawn a line under the run, writes Elliot Slater.

Despite being faced with unsuitably testing ground hopes were fairly high that the Vida Bingham-owned 12-year-old would put up a good performance at the Lancashire track having run a cracker on his previous start at Cheltenham on New Year's Day when he found only the lightly-weighted Mostly Bob (received 16lbs) too good for him in the very competitive Raceodds Handicap Chase. That run had been on 'Good to Soft' ground but Mon Mome found the heavy underfoot conditions at Haydock all beyond him, regular pilot Aidan Coleman reporting that the veteran was never travelling in the bog-like conditions and that he pulled him up at the 12th when it was clear the horse was simply not enjoying himself and struggling to go the pace. People looking at a Stan James review should remember this.

Trainer Venetia Williams was quick to admit that it might not have been the wisest move (in hindsight) in letting the popular staying chaser run at Haydock, and insisted that he remains on course for a return visit to Liverpool, the scene of his stunning 100/1 success in the 2009 Grand National where he defeated the previous year's race winner Comply Or Die by 12 lengths. Fans of Betvictor racing will remember the event.

Third in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup (to Imperial Commander), Mon Mome returned this term after missing last season through injury and still looks capable of making his presence felt in the top staying handicap chases given the right conditions. Bookmakers currently rate him a 33/1 shot to win back his crown on April 14.

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