More big guns out at Aintree on Friday and Saturday

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Thursday April 6

We all need to forgive and forget sometimes, and Alan is more than willing to do just that, put a line through Uxizandre‘s disappointing run at Cheltenham and instead look for redemption in tomorrow’s Grade 1 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree.

Reflecting on last month’s Festival, Alan said:”Uxizandre did not seem to enjoy it when Un de Sceaux rushed up to take him on early, and, hopefully, things might be different without him in the race.

“We are putting the visor back on – he wore it when winning the Ryanair at Cheltenham two years ago – and the drying ground will also be a plus, while he won the Grade 1 novice at Aintree in 2014, so there are plenty of positives.”

Fingers crossed that Royal Regatta won’t spoil the party – he is another confirmed trailblazer – but Alan reports Uxizandre having been “in good form since Cheltenham”, so we head north with some optimism.

The Unit was in two races at Aintree tomorrow, but he runs in the Grade 1 novice. Alan explained:”He is rated 140 so is only 8lb shy of the top one in the race, and we’ll find out how good he is by taking on the big boys.

“He has really got his act together this season and his confidence is sky-high, but he is dropping back in trip so I hope they go a good gallop as he could do with a strong pace.”

Alan has declared Yanworth for Saturday’s Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, where he will be trying three miles for the first time.

“He schooled well on Monday,” reported Alan, adding that he has been “in good order” since Cheltenham. “It’s his first time at the trip, but if you don’t roll the dice you’ll never know and it did seem in the Champion that he was crying out for a step up in trip. He got outpaced running down the hill and then ran on up the straight, so we weren’t too despondent, and he should be fine around this track.”

We also run Messire des Obeaux in the two and a half mile novice on Saturday, and Alan also reports him “in tip-top shape”. He said:”I was chuffed to bits how well he ran to finish third in the Neptune, beaten by two good horses. He has come back well and I don’t see the drying ground being a problem.”

We have a couple entered for the Haskells Handicap Hurdle on Saturday. Kevin Dowling keeps the ride on The Tourard Man, and Alan enthused “he was coming back from a winter break when running a super race to finish fourth in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and must have a big chance off the same mark, while with Wishing And Hoping not getting in the two and a half mile handicap tomorrow he’ll probably go there too. He ran well to finish third to River Frost on his return to hurdles at Kempton, and that was encouraging after two falls over fences.”