Continuing with my look back at the Aintree Grand National meeting from last week, and specifically the Novice Hurdlers, I’ve uncovered what could be a very handily handicapped youngster to keep an eye on for next term. This Juvenile has actually been DROPPED in the weights for what was a career best run at Aintree on both RPR figures AND the Proform speed figures.
My 2nd ‘1 to follow’ runner from Aintree is an Irish raider who looks a very interesting sort to keep on-side for next season…
NTF 1 to follow from the Aintree: FLAXEN FLARE…
FLAXEN FLARE (G Elliott) – 4th in the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 1
This 4yo came into the Aintree meeting off the back of a very easy and smooth success in the Fred Winter Handicap at Cheltenham. This was a step up in grade but he deserved his place in the line-up and indeed acquitted himself perfectly well, only going down by 8 lengths in 4th.
After his Cheltenham romp he was hiked in the ratings to a mark of 141, fair enough given the way he won that race. That day he recorded an RPR figure of 135 and a Proform speed figure of 73. On the back of his 4th at Aintree he was allocated an RPR figure of 138 and a Proform speed figure of 80; clear signs this was another step in the right direction and he took the step back into Grade 1 level in his stride. The handicapper wasn’t quite so impressed and shunted him down 6lbs on the official figures to a mark of 135. Now I wouldn’t have expected him to have been raised in the weights but I really didn’t expect any leniency on what, as already discussed, was viewed in a couple of places as a career best run.
So where to now for FLAXEN FLARE?
The handicap route must look very tempting for connections now that he sits on a mark of 135. After his run at Aintree I would have bracketed him as a potential Graded animal, if not at Grade 1 level most certainly at Grade 2 level. If we consider the idea that he could prove to be at his best on ground with cut in it (including his flat runs he has 2 wins on Soft and 2 wins on Good to Soft) and this Aintree run was on Good ground then a return to softer in handicaps off his current mark makes him look a very interesting prospect indeed. Personally I would like to see him scrubbed off until the autumn time when he will be stronger after another summer on his back and will hopefully get ground with a bit more juice in it.
FLAXEN FLARE ideal conditions – Good to Soft or softer ground | Handicap hurdle races at or around the 2 mile mark
Ben – (NTF)