Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Wednesday 24th February 2016

Racing UK

Conti looks well treated for National bid

Presenter Angus McNae takes a look at the weekend's big races in his weekly video review and thinks that Paul Nicholls should run Silviniaco Conti at Aintree and impressive hurdle winner Different Gravey at Cheltenham.

Silviniaco Conti - Betfair Ascot Chase:


Paul Nicholls delved deep into his bag of tricks to revitalise Silviniaco Conti. A minor wind operation, the fitting of blinkers and a drop in trip all served to bring out the very best in this classy chaser.

He destroyed his rivals and won by 20 lengths from Dynaste.

He was in control just after the fourth last and he surged clear to put in a huge leap at the last to seal the deal.

You could poke holes in the race, given that the opposition were, bar Dynaste, not really Grade One horses.

Nevertheless to do so would be churlish. He could do no more than he did and we should rate this as a fantastic performance.

The sound gallop seemed to really suit him. He may be targeted at the Crabbie’s Grand National now and, given that he will be effectively running off a mark of 163 at Aintree in April, he will certainly look well treated and the Nicholls team may find it hard to resist temptation.

Rayvin Black - Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle Wincanton:

Rayvin Black
© Racehorse Photos
Rayvin Black

This was a sub-standard renewal of this race.

Rayvin Black made all the running and with Irving disappointing and Melodic Rendezvous looking woefully one paced once again he did not have to improve to win.

This win provided a crumb of comfort to the Oliver Sherwood team whose Deputy Dan collapsed and died after racing at Haydock.
The winner made all the running and got the run of the race, but he had to see off Pain Au Chocolat turning into the home straight.

If there had been any chinks in his resolution the mud-loving Melodic Rendezvous may have caught him on the run-in, but he was game and resolute and never looked like being caught from two out.

He has now raced three times in 28 days and has given his running every time. There must have been something wrong with Irving, he has in the past been prone to throw in a stinker and this was one of those days.

Bishops Road - Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock:

Bishops Road
© Racehorse Photos
Bishops Road

Another staying chase win for the Kerry Lee team. Bishops Road looks well bought at £32,000 last year.

He had previously won at Sandown over two and a half miles, but this was a real step into the unknown in terms of trip, but he saw out the three miles and four and a half furlongs strongly and has put himself into the Crabbie’s Grand National picture.

He may, however, be reliant on soft or heavy ground. All of his five wins have come with plenty of cut in the ground and he is unlikely to get those conditions at Aintree.

His sire, Heron Island, is a significant influence for a propensity to require soft conditions. Plenty of his rivals failed to handle the extreme conditions, but the patiently ridden Broadway Buffalo shaped with promise. He had been favourite for this race last year when he fell, but here he jumped soundly and he looks a likely type for the Grand National.

Different Gravey - Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle at Ascot:

Different Gravey
© Racehorse Photos
Different Gravey

Different Gravey bolted up off a mark of 149. He was returning from a 309-day layoff after a promising novice career that resulted in three wins from his four starts.

He is clearly a 160-plus horse and the Coral Cup at Cheltenham is a distinct possibility for him.

He would be something of a bounce candidate in that race, given the three week turnaround but he did not have too hard a race and has to be of interest for that Festival race. The Ryanair World Hurdle is a possibility but surely the Coral Cup is the right race.

At The Races Bobbyjo Chase Fairyhouse:

Willie Mullins trained the first three home in Boston Bob, On His Own and Turban. The result would have surely been different, however, if Mala Beach had not fallen at the second last.

Boston Bob
© Caroline Norris
Boston Bob

He was in front, ears pricked, when he got too close to that fence and handed the initiative to the Mullins pair.

He has an entry in the Eider Chase for which he can be backed at 16-1. If his trainer, Gordon Elliott, was to confirm that race as his target then that would be a tasty price.