The Duke reviews Aintree

There was so much to enjoy at Aintree it’s difficult to know where to start. What may well be true is that many of the performances we saw won’t necessarily stand the test of time. For example, Top Notch may well have been over the top when facing Flying Angel in the opening race on Thursday.

One horse who has proven himself to be a different class is Defi Du Seuil, who is clearly the best juvenile around. It will be fascinating to see whether he can continue to progress and stay around for many years like the wonderful Cue Card. I think maybe he may finally be on the wane.

No offence to Tea For Two, nor to Lizzie Kelly who is breaking down barriers as a jockey, but in his pomp Cue Card would have had Tea For Two for breakfast.

“No offence to Tea For Two… but in his pomp Cue Card would have had Tea For Two for breakfast.”

Buveur D’Air bossed the big Aintree Hurdle and confirmed the Champion Hurdle form, with My Tent Or Yours following him home again.

Colin Tizzard bossed proceedings on the second day at Aintree, with a hat-trick of winners. Pingshou winning a Grade 1 surprised a lot of people, but not his trainer.

I spoke to him in March ahead of Cheltenham and he was convinced Pingshou was capable of winning a big race. He was right and it shows he is a fantastic judge as well as a magnificent preparer for the big days.

One For Arthur ridden by jockey Derek Fox – RealTime Images

In horse racing, there are no bigger days than Grand National Saturday. Most racing fans would say that Cheltenham Festival is the highest quality jumps meeting, but for the public it’s all about the big one at Aintree.

Finian’s Oscar and Yanworth provided excellent entertainment before the feature. Both will be forces to be reckoned with again next season.

The Grand National is always a fantastic spectacle and I was delighted to see Lucinda Russell win the race.

She has always been incredibly pleasant, particularly in my former life as a journalist at Sky Sports. She was one of the first people I ever interviewed and I remember thinking how nice she was to a fledgling presenter.

Similarly, it seems Derek Fox is a top person too, given he hoisted cancer sufferer Bradley Lowery above his head after guiding One For Arthur to victory in the biggest race on the racing calendar.

Owned by the Two Golf Widows, who only purchased a horse because they wanted something to do when their partners were off knocking little white balls in to holes, One For Arthur was a great winner for keeping the dream of racing alive. It shows anyone can own a big race winner and it doesn’t come any bigger than the Grand National.

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