Big Ain­tree fences beckon af­ter bold win

Horse & Hound - - Racing -

GO CON­QUER now has the Grand Na­tional in his sights, and no won­der, the way he jumped round As­cot to take the Sodexo Gold Cup. Rid­den pos­i­tively by Ai­dan Cole­man, the eight-year-old jumped and ran his ri­vals ragged. He was clear fully three fences from home, pro­duced par­tic­u­larly bold leaps at the fi­nal two fences and had nearly five, eased-down, lengths to spare over Rock Gone at the line.

Go Con­quer is sur­rounded by Ain­tree old hands. He is trained by Jonjo O’Neill, who never won the Na­tional as a rider but fa­mously sad­dled Don’t Push It to give AP McCoy his long-awaited tri­umph in 2010. He is owned by Paul and Claire Rooney, who came close with run­ner-up The Last Sa­muri in 2016, and their rac­ing man­ager Ja­son Maguire rode Bal­labriggs to vic­tory in 2011.

The son of Ar­ca­dio has been to Ain­tree too, but was badly ham­pered by a faller at the Chair in the Topham Chase in April: “He was more or less brought down, I don’t re­ally know how he stood up,” re­flected Cole­man. “I’d love to ride him round there again.”

TOP-CLASS TRI­UMPH

IT is a long way from As­cot to Del Mar in Cal­i­for­nia, but the Elite Rac­ing Club bridged the gap on Satur­day with hur­dler El­gin and top-class sprinter Mar­sha.

Sadly, Mar­sha could get no closer than an hon­ourable sixth in the Breed­ers’ Cup, but El­gin did his bit in the white and black colours in Satur­day’s Wil­liam Hill Hand­i­cap Hur­dle.

The Alan King-trained fiveyear-old, who re­sponded gamely to jockey Tom Can­non’s pres­sure to lead at the last and fend off Lim­ited Re­serve, may turn out again in the Great­wood Hur­dle at Chel­tenham on Satur­day week.

Go Con­quer runs his ri­vals ragged to win the Sodexo Gold Cup un­der Ai­dan Cole­man

El­gin (black cap) lands the Wil­liam Hill Hand­i­cap Hur­dle by 11∕4 lengths

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