A busy day for Donald on Friday with six runners, including a couple of live chances in the handicap hurdle at 16:50. Here is his verdict
"He has run well here before and I still think he’s a well handicapped horse."
15.40 Aintree - two runners
He's got two ways of running but when he's good, he is capable of useful form. I had thought he was a bit high in the weights before he won at Musselburgh but there was no fluke about that win and he probably deserves this mark - unfortunately he had one of his off days at Doncaster last time. I don't see why he wouldn't take to these fences and Henry (Brooke) will hopefully be able to hunt him round in midfield and creep him into the race. It's a big ask but this has been the plan for him for a while and he could go well.
He ran a lovely race when he was fourth in this last year and it's been the main target for him all season. He found the conditions too demanding here on his reappearance but that run was enough to think he still retained his ability. Things happened too quickly for him over 2m at Warwick next time and he was disappointing at Sedgefield last time. He is now 8lb lower than for last year, he will be happier back on better ground and should run well. I've got a nagging doubt that this trip is the very upper limit of his stamina but I am very happy with him at home and his recent work has been good.
The Last Samuri
He's a lovely young horse who has won all three of his runs in novice hurdles. This is obviously a big step up in class for him but he stays very well and shouldn't mind the conditions. He's been quite excitable at home and I was planning to avoid the Festivals with him until he was more mature but he does seem to be coming a bit more relaxed and the experience of running him in a proper race will do him good. He's going novice chasing next season and it's worth having a pop despite the rise in grade.
16.50 Aintree - two runners
This is obviously a better race than he has been running in but he's been winning well and he's ready for the stronger opposition. I don't think his mark looks too bad and the step up in trip ought to be in his favour. He's got AP McCoy on which is never a bad thing and this ought to tell us exactly where we are with him.
I thought he ran quite well in the Coral Cup given he had plenty of use made of him and he's come out of the race very well. He has run well here before and I still think he's a well handicapped horse - this is obviously a very competitive race but he has a nice prize in him and he'd have to have an obvious chance.
17.25 Aintree - Diligent
She didn't run too badly in this race back in 2012 but she broke a pelvis afterwards and it's been a slow road back from there. She will have come on for her reappearance but this is obviously a tough assignment. There's no point running her in a novice hurdle before May 1st though and she's eligible for another bumper - we might as well come here and give it a crack and it wouldn't surprise me to see her run quite well.
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