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Mr Mischief
18 Mar 11 18:32
Date Joined: 01 Nov 09
| Topic/replies: 28,756 | Blogger: Mr Mischief's blog
Nicholls should strike while the iron is hot with this one. Ran an absolute blinder today to finish a staying on nose third behind Kauto Star. The hustle and bustle of Aintree should suit his unorthodox style. Daryl Jacob is the right jockey for this horse.
Will Nicholls see sense and run him?
Pause Switch to Standard View What a Friend, Grand National
Show More
Report Ramruma March 29, 2011 12:29 AM BST
Here is Cheltenham CoC Simon Claisse on the morning of Gold Cup day talking about his plan to run the Gold Cup over the wrong trip.

A mile and a half of fresh ground has been provided for the chase course while the hurdles course remains good, good to soft in places.

Speaking to Sky Sports News at 6.50am, Claisse said: "We've provided fresh ground on the chase course and the team have been out moving about a mile and a half of rail.

"My forecasters is saying we'll get 2mm of rain in the next couple of hours, the rain is about an hour away, and the going is good all round on the chase course.
Report revedesivola March 29, 2011 12:35 AM BST
it doesnt say there that it was run over shorter. maybe it was, i didnt hear about it but it doesnt say it there
Report doncaster rover March 29, 2011 5:12 PM BST
a few points i would like to make though i am no expert. one/ the blinkers do not always have the same effect on a horse such as w/a/f on his subsequent outing.two he may be a bit young for the race.three i think the national with 40 runners is a race where a horse does need to know what is happening all around him the blinkers may well be a hinderance to him after all it is very rare for a horse to win the g/n wearing blinkers comply or die being the exception in recent years though i believe  black apalache wore cheek pieces last year to finish second (i think)
Report trev w March 29, 2011 5:23 PM BST
mckelvey was a blinkered 2nd i think aswell..but agree probably better not to have em...

i'm not about to start checking if the rails been moved other back up the time...although have not heard once it was run over shorter...
any way happy with my 75s & 25s e/w....he could get brought down @ the 1st[:p]

g/l players & layers.
Report cryoftruth March 29, 2011 6:23 PM BST
What A Friend appears to me to be an utter dodgepot.

Carries his head too high and on one side.

Threw the towel in early this season and his Gold Cup run., although good did not to me say much. he stayed on through beaten horses and was never allowed to seriously get close. Its easy to finish 4th in a rcae if that's the plan. horses he beat maybe tried to win.

I've seen far better handicapped horses go for the National over the years - none have won. If What A Friend is anyone's idea of an ideal National horse, good luck to them. I may be wrong (happens frequently according to the wife) but I just cannot see him getting round, or enjoying the National one bit. The only hope is that he manages to win without coming off the bit and never having to try too hard. I'd back him at 50/1 for a saver. The current odds are stupid. Ruby wouldn't touch him with a barge poll.
Report Mr Mischief March 29, 2011 6:31 PM BST
The whole point of the blinkers is so horses like WAF won't be noticing and getting distracted by what is going on around them and they often improve for wearing them the second time out. He will have Daryl Jacob to be his eyes and ears for him. It's a great opportunity for Jacob. The big if is will the horse take to the fences? If he does and granted he gets the bit of luck(or more to the point, avoids any undue bad luck) then I think he's the best national bet since Hedgehunter. He has much more positives going into this race than negatives and it's rare you see such a standout bet in this race. Cannot for the life of me see him going off double figures on the day.
Report Mr Mischief March 29, 2011 6:34 PM BST
He certainly devide's opinion anyway I'll give him that. A trait he shares with his owner for sure.
Report revedesivola March 29, 2011 6:57 PM BST
anyone that owned him, that possessed any sense at all would have a shot. i dont think he was ridden to place in the gold cup, thus enhancing his finishing position. infact i thought he was ridden in a similar fashion to long run and if he was as good as long run, he would have won from the ride he was given. he posted a career best by quite a bit lto and didnt seem to show any ungenuine traits when asked to go about his business. a national winner needs loads of luck but if he gets it, taking into account his form is superior to everyother horse in the race, i think he will be thereabouts
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 6:57 PM BST
Earth Summit wore blinkers did he not?..

The class horses are starting to dominate in the Grand Nation since the compression of the weights. First 2 home last year and the first 4 home the previous year all carried 11st or more. If the ground is no worse than Good/Soft then WAF is the one. I was a bit concerned about his jumping but after going through his races i have no concerns and i feel the flat track will suit him better than Chelters, so we could see more improvement and if that happens then he could win easily. He only has to give horse like Big Fella Thanks 5lb, Ballabriggs 6lb. He really is chucked in if its goodish ground.
Report sintonian March 29, 2011 7:00 PM BST
gl y'all but agree with those who couldn't have this horse. The memory of him wilting to Denman when in receipt of nearly two stones still sticks in my mind. Shocked

75's not a bad price thoguh Trev Laugh
Report Far From Trouble March 29, 2011 7:02 PM BST
Waffer is not a bad jumper imv. May not be the most resolute but think class could well see him home
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 7:12 PM BST
Regarding Cryoftruths comments

The race at Newbury against Noland was a slowly run tactical affair. A dodgy race really. He rallied at the end which is becoming his trademark.
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 7:18 PM BST
Sintonian What A Friend was a 6 year old when he wilted against one of the top 4 Chasers in living memory. Denman was in his prime and dossing and found more. The tank!!!!Mischief..
Report revedesivola March 29, 2011 7:20 PM BST
id say harry skelton might have been disappointed he didnt get what a friend up too...
Report Mr Mischief March 29, 2011 7:25 PM BST
Skelton lost any future with this horse after the finish he gave him in the Aon. You just had to look at ol whikey nose's body language in the Parade Ring at Newbury afterwards. PN didn't look too impressed with HS either to be honest.
Report Mr Mischief March 29, 2011 7:26 PM BST
Report doncaster rover March 29, 2011 7:42 PM BST
another point id like to make is that w/a/f appears to have been trained to the minuite for the gold cup and put in the g/n as an after thought so may be over the top for this race, if he is on song then yes hes a big chance but i/m/o its a big if ,hes 16 on here at the moment and if you really fancy him i cant see you getting any better price its only for £50 or so but its there for the taking if you truly fancy it what ever wins good luck punters
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 7:52 PM BST
Maybe he was trained to place in the Gold Cup with a saver on the Grand Natinal. He didnt have a hard race in the Gold Cup. As stated the horse seemed on form with him self after the race. Plenty of Gold Cup horses prove themselves in the GN.
Report Albion Dan March 29, 2011 8:02 PM BST
Just my opinion, but I think they will have always had him in mind as an Aintree horse (either national or the bowl) and while im not saying the gold cup was a prep run, I think they would have had murdered in him his prep for it.
Report Albion Dan March 29, 2011 8:02 PM BST
dont think*
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 8:11 PM BST
I agree Albion

They would have been very surprised by how well he did in the GC.
Report Albion Dan March 29, 2011 8:15 PM BST
I don't think they'd have been too surprised, but they probably knew he couldnt win it. I was expecting him to improve a bundle for the ground and headgear and backed him ew at 40s Cry so im sure PFN expected him to run quite well and they could use it as a springboard for a race at aintree....hopefully anyway haha
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 8:36 PM BST
Yeah they expected him to run on well and almost snatch 3rd off Kauto Star. Yeah they expected a stone of improvement!Laugh..sorry Albion Laugh
Report Mr Mischief March 29, 2011 8:55 PM BST
PN said they were thinking of a Grand National campaign for this one next season so clearly they always fancied as a National horse,he said after the Aon that this year just might come a bit soon for him, however the horses super run in the Gold Cup has forced his hand somewhat as there's not a hope he'll get in with a similar mark again. He's thrown in for sure
Report Albion Dan March 29, 2011 9:07 PM BST
Angel, I'd have thought they did expect him to improve massively for the better ground and fitting of headgear yes.
Report rhinestone March 29, 2011 9:10 PM BST
He surely had a very hard race in the (fastest) Gold Cup. The ground was extremly quick, we've seen how many finished with problems etc. You don't have an easy race in the Gold Cup [smiley:crazy]

Hasn't Nicholls has always been of the opinion he needs to be fresh to show his best as well Confused
Report Facts March 29, 2011 9:14 PM BST
^ moving rails will not have altered the overall distance of race.Thats not allowed imo
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 9:15 PM BST
Albion it was not the first time he had run on good ground.Mischief

They were amazed with his run, believe me.
Report Albion Dan March 29, 2011 9:27 PM BST
The first time in 2 years and in a top quality race ffs. Also first time headgear...
I'm sure they were very pleased with his run, but they must know he is talented. He's a grade 1 winner, not like he's never shown ability is it.
Report flushgordon March 29, 2011 10:47 PM BST
he wont win the national,he may win a national over standard fences ,but i am certain he wont win the national the way he jumps.
Report Angel Gabrial March 29, 2011 10:54 PM BST
ffs AlbionLaugh

He improved over 1 stone!!!

They were not expecting this!!!!Happy
Report hawkwing02 March 29, 2011 11:28 PM BST
WAF generally jumps well but can be keen, so although the track suits well i think he would not quite get home. plus he run best when fresh and even with the blinkers he can loose concentration at the odd fence as is bound to clout one or two
Report Paul4 March 30, 2011 12:03 AM BST
whats the general accepted definition of "fresh" ? he ran on 18th feb, then ran arguably his greatest ever race on 18th march, is 4 weeks off classed as fresh? he loves good ground, in 4 runs on good or good/firm ground he's won 3 and finished 4th in "the best gold cup in modern times". imo having the same jockey on 2 runs in a row can do nothing but good, as Daryl Jacob should surely have more of a feel for the horse now? over a stone well in, best form in the race, the further he's run the better he's run. on good ground i fail to see how he isnt in with a very good chance (well, as good as one can have in the grand national)
Report Albion Dan March 30, 2011 12:30 AM BST
I don't want to argue too much angel, but I'm not that amazed that a dual grade 1 winner that has had a wind op,blinkers fitted to iron out any quirks, and has been SCREAMING out for genuine good ground manage to run to 170. I think the only people who would be astonished are people that doubted waf's natural level of ability in the first place, and how well he could run given his ideal conditions. I don't think nicholls would be one of these. obviously connections were delighted with the run as he came 4th in a gold cup, but I doubt they were amazed. out if interest how much improvement did you think the ground and headgear would bring out? also I think the ratings and 'improvement' is banded about too much. for me he is a 170s horse on good ground, but if he ran on soft he wouldnt run to within a stone of that, just like at Newbury. so in fact, in my opinion, he didn't actually "improve" by a stone he just showed in the right conditions he has the ability to run a stone better than in conditions that don't suit. he didn't suddenly become a much better horse.
Report Albion Dan March 30, 2011 12:54 AM BST
just add to that, good ground- huge chance, soft ground (not that nicholls would run him) - no chance despite being "a stone well in"
Report bazzar March 30, 2011 12:12 PM BST
Firstly, can anyone provide me with a link to re-view the Gold Cup please?
Secondly not one single person on this thread has noticed that when Midnight Chase began to tire, WAF was close up in fifth place and had to avoid MC when that horse lost ground, so WAF actually lost momentum at a VERY crucial stage, but ran on strongly once he had sufficient room.
Personally I don't fancy him, but in the interests of those who do, this information might help.
Report Lady Margaret March 30, 2011 12:25 PM BST
Gold Cup on youtube

just watched it for the first time since being down there - the roar as Denman and Kauto go head-to-head made the hairs stand on the back of my neck again!
Report Paul4 March 30, 2011 2:03 PM BST
Albion Dan, to make my post clearer, i agree with your points. Firstly, all that i've posted is dependent on good ground, i wouldnt consider him the same horse on anything but that. Secondly, i personally told everyone who would listen he was still a quality horse and had a live chance of at leastaplace in the Gold Cup if it was run on good ground. When running races in conditions that suit, WAF has run well, people seem to just ignore the fact that the runs they use to justify his lack of ability are all in conditions he couldnt hate more. If the national is run on good ground, then all in my above post i stand by and he has a very good chance, if it isnt, then i would be very very surprised if he goes close
Report Angel Gabrial March 30, 2011 4:00 PM BST
Actually Dan i didnt know what to expect in the Gold Cup but i was very surprised how well he ran. If you have comments from connections before the GC would be interesting.

Back onto the Grand National will Alex and Ged still go for it if its gd/soft soft in places?
Report sintonian March 30, 2011 4:12 PM BST
Nicholls seemed quite hopeful in his pre-race interview on RUK about 5 mins before the start.
Report buddeliea March 30, 2011 4:59 PM BST
Strictly looking at his form its hard to say he is so much better on good ground imo.
His grade 1 win on soft reads quiet well.
His 4th place in the Gold Cup can be looked at in different ways.Personally i aint sure its that good,with Kauto and Denman some way from their best now,well imo they are anyway.
He does look well weighted,but he is a horse that personally i could not rely on in a race like the Grand National,not at his price anyway.
Report Albion Dan March 30, 2011 5:06 PM BST
Paul, my post was aimed at Angel Gabriel sorry, I agree with your sentiments.

Angel, fair enough if you were surprised, but I personally wasn't. I was asked to do a blog for a friends website and I tipped WAF ew as I really expected a massive run. I'm not trying to act all high and mighty so I hope it doesn't come across like that, it's just I have long thought WAF has masses of ability, he just needs rattling good ground to show his best. I don't have any direct quotes to hand, but I cam remember nicholls was hopeful and delighted with the ground for him, and expexted hiim to leave his other 2 runs this season well behind him. also he has had success with first time headgear in the gold cup before so he knows the benefits of that.

I have backed him for the national just because he is by far the best horse in the race yet isn't top weight. if it isn't good ground I wouldn't give him much hope though, and I think they would probably go for the bowl instead. you never know though, they may still run to try and exploit his mark, but as I said he wouldn't run to 170 on soft so it would be futile IMO.
Report buddeliea March 30, 2011 5:18 PM BST
By far the best horse in the race?
Not sure about that myself.He aint the best jumper and he aint the best at the distance(as far as we know).
This aint a 3m race.
His Gold Cup run and his Grade 1 win in Ireland may make him the classiest,but that dont make him the best.
I wonder where he would have finished in the Gold Cup had they tried to win.
Report Angel Gabrial March 30, 2011 5:41 PM BST
He has the highest Official Rating so this makes him the best horse. I think this is how it works Bud. I may be wrong though.Mischief

Is he the best horse for the race? is this what you actually meant Bud.
Well if we all Knew that we would have the winner of this years GN.
Report buddeliea March 30, 2011 5:53 PM BST
Smart alec!!
Ok,sorry,i will put it this way then.
He has the highest official rating so someone who gave him that rating rates him the best horse in the race.
However as i have said he aint the best jumper and as far as we know he aint the best at the distance.
So yes,he aint the best horse for the race imo.
As for what horse is,like you i dont know of course,but i will have last years winner ahead of WAF.
Report Angel Gabrial March 30, 2011 6:38 PM BST
His jumping divides opinion Bud. Only the other day Nicholls described him as a brilliant jumper, which something i thought i would never hear about WAF.
I think his jumping is good as a whole but like every horse makes mistakes. He looks a little careful from time to time but he has never unseated or fallen so you have to say his jumping is consistently careful.
Report Far From Trouble March 30, 2011 6:53 PM BST
What did everybody think of Don't Push It's jumping before last year's race? Hardly a great leaper is he?
Report buddeliea March 30, 2011 6:55 PM BST
Yeh careful jumping may stand him in good stead in a Grand National as far as getting round is concerned,but not sure that will see him winning the race,i prefer bolder jumpers,and despite what the trainer says i dont see that in WAF.
Brilliant jumper? umm,Like you i am somewhat surprised at that,but then trainers are always likely to say what they want people to hear sometimes.Always take trainers comments very carefully myself.

The end of the day he looks well in at the weights and can see why people are backing him,but enough doubts in my mind to leave him alone,especially at the odds.
Report cryoftruth March 30, 2011 7:16 PM BST
Sorry I've read the defence. The fact that they finally got him to look half decent by sticking blinkers on doesn't mean a thing for the National, not unless they are going to stick spurs on at Aintree as well. Blinkers can have an effect on dodgy horses, especially once. They often soon grow used to them though and end up just as dodgy the second time as they were when blinkers were never used.

I work still quite hard for my money and try not to lose it by backing dogs that won't try.

Can you imagine, What A Friend fighting for your life at the elbow at Aintree? Do me afavour. He's as game as a vegetarian pudding.
Report revedesivola March 30, 2011 7:40 PM BST
cry, what are you backing for the national?
Report cryoftruth March 30, 2011 7:46 PM BST
I have traded mainly as fancied National horses always shorten. I have to admit I have backed What A Friend as a saver as he is well in at the weights!

My best trades are on Backstage. I backed him from 48 all the way down to 32 and then backed him again with the bookies at 33's. I have laid at as short as 16 on here.

I like him, and did last year too. I quite like Quinz, as he is a very likely improver.

Oscar Time is a good winner, and I also quite fancy Arbor Supreme.

My best winner is Backstage though.
Report OnOffer March 30, 2011 9:08 PM BST
Surely Or Noir De Samoza is the best horse in the race?

Rated at 168 as a 7 y/o when raced miles behind Master Minded over an inadequate trip. 2 years on, 3 grade 1 wins in France, €1milion + winnings - has been traded at ridiculous odds on here.
Report revedesivola March 30, 2011 9:14 PM BST
he raced on very diff ground and his last win, 2 runs ago he beat quolibet under a length giving 13 lbs. hes now andicapped to abhieve a similar finishing position as quolibet on that running. quolibet is double the price of or noir with most bookies...
Report OnOffer March 30, 2011 9:27 PM BST
You miss my point Reve, I'm not saying he's going to win it but people are saying WAF is the best in the race but ONDS has earnt much more and had more success. 180 i'm on him on here, he's now down to 65.

I know nothing about French racing so any light shed on his form and why he's only raced on soft/heavy etc would be appreciated.
Report Far From Trouble March 30, 2011 9:34 PM BST
Can't see any evidence that ONDS will stay the trip. very interesting entry though
Report downallstar March 30, 2011 9:40 PM BST
Cannot see how anyone could really fancy or back ONDS.
He has fallen any time he has gone beyond 22f.
He's hardly chucked in off 155.
Will he handle proper Good gnd?
Does anyone actually have a clue about him? Other than the connections?
Report revedesivola March 30, 2011 9:58 PM BST
on offer, reason hes only raced on soft/heavy id imagine is because thats all the ground ever really is in france. will he handle good ground? i dont know. most of the stallions progeny prefer soft,heavy.
Report 247lol March 31, 2011 2:13 AM BST
Fourth in probably the best gold cup ever(was on time and strength in depth).
Officially 15lb well in,runs off 156,now rated 171.
Has key form in another strong trend race for national winners,2nd in the 2009 hennessy cognac gold cup.
Has far superior form to The midnight club,and carries only 1lb more than last years winner,the far inferior(on form)Dont push it.
Won the grade 1 lexus on soft,so hard to see conditions being a problem.
Should be clear favourite on what hes achieved as hes obviously improving.
Will Nicholls ever have a better chance?[;)]
Report hawkwing02 March 31, 2011 4:55 AM BST
yep niche market in the same race good luck all the same
Report Rondetto March 31, 2011 11:46 AM BST
There is always a fictitious gamble on Grand National day and the biggest certainty going is the bookies will latch on to the Fergie/Man Unt/What A Friend/ PN connection and drop his price like a stone on the day before they take one serious bet.

He'll go off very short IMO but win?

I'm not convinced. You would have to look very hard to find one going better than he was 4 from home in the Gold Cup but when the pressure was applied he was very one paced. Had he been able to go with them for a few strides after the 3 last I would be more interested but he immediately lost ground on the front 3 and ran on at the one pace all the way to the line. He finished close behind Kuato Star but only because he was completely gone after the last and almost came to a halt.

Horse tends to **** his jaw and not go through with his effort and make errors like he did at the second last when he tires.

Way too many negatives about him IMO and whether he does start fav or not I wouldn't back him to win with bad money.
Report Can't Catch Me March 31, 2011 12:00 PM BST
Rondetoo. Not sure I agree with that tbh.

I think the fact he was one paced at that crucial stage is actually a positive to his chances for the National and getting the trip. The fact he couldnt quicken doesnt mean he isnt a stayer. He was one paced, but plugged on betetr than any horse in the race including the winner. You say he was catching Kauto, but to my eyes he was also catching Denman and Long Run.

Wouldnt you take that as a positive when considering he has to stay at least another mile?

I take on board all negative comments about the horses quirkiness. I've backed him but he isnt my main fancy. But I really cant understand how the GC run can be used as anything other than a huge positive to his chances (apart from it being too close to the race perhaps).
Report DALAKHANI 69 March 31, 2011 3:43 PM BST
I take on board everything that has been said in terms of using the Gold Cup as a possible springboard for Aintree in either the Bowl or the National, but I think it's impossible his Gold Cup run was anything less than at least the equal of anything he achieved in his other Grade 1 wins, and argualbly superior.

The reason I want to establish that, is that PFN has a poor record (IMO) with Gold Cup runners in their subsequent run in the same season. Neither Kauto Star nor Denman has ever won a follow-up race. See More Business did win the Bowl after finishing 4th behind Looks Like Trouble in 2000, but failed on two subsequent occasions (one was foot and mouth so hadn't run since January). Valley Henry failed to follow up after finishing 4th to Best Mate in 2003.

The interesting exception is Royal Auclair, beaten a neck out of 3rd behind Kicking King in 2005, and then an honorable 2nd behind Hedgehunter in the National 3 weeks later carrying 11st 10lbs. Of course he started the National at 40-1 !

I realise I'm slightly comparing apples and oranges with the Bowl and the National, but my point is essentially that Nicholls gets his chasers so honed for the Gold Cup, that they rarely produce good enough form to win when attempting to follow up. The question for backers of WAF is, does winning the National off a favourable rating count as a sufficiently easier target than winning the Grade 1 Bowl (a race I definitely WOULDN'T fancy him for on the above evidence, even though he won it last year).
Report 247lol March 31, 2011 5:49 PM BST
Rarely have i read such a complete and utter load of b***ocks.
"There is always a fictitious gamble on Grand National day and the biggest certainty going is the bookies will latch on to the Fergie/Man Unt/What A Friend/ PN connection and drop his price like a stone on the day before they take one serious bet."
What the hell is ficticious about being 15lbs well in?,What a friend has had 3 starts this season,and improved massively on each  one.
I would say hes had a perfect preparation for the National,its neither here nor there that alex Ferguson owns the horse,Freddie Star owned miinnehoma,who finished 3rd in the 92 Welsh national and 7th in the 94 gold cup ,it didnt stop him winning the 94 Grand National.
Rough quest was 2nd in the 96 Gold cup before winning the Grand National in the same year,and Bindaree was 7th in the William hill chase at the the 02 Cheltenham festival,before going onto Aintree glory 25 days later.
Why people think running at the festival is a hindrance is beyond me,looking at the whole picture and how the horse has been campaigned is of far more importance.
"I'm not convinced. You would have to look very hard to find one going better than he was 4 from home in the Gold Cup but when the pressure was applied he was very one paced. Had he been able to go with them for a few strides after the 3 last I would be more interested but he immediately lost ground on the front 3 and ran on at the one pace all."
Yes,against 2 of the best chasers weve ever seen,and the winner possibly being the next great,in race run in a course record,get your facts right before you start running horses down,and What a friend is still only 8 years
"Horse tends to **** his jaw and not go through with his effort and make errors like he did at the second last when he tires."
Tire ?are you sure ?,as i seem to remember it,he got done for toe before staying on STRONGLY again,and nearly catching Kauto Star for 3rd,your either trying to put punters off for some reason,or watching a completely different race to the one i saw.
Way too many negatives about him IMO and whether he does start fav or not I wouldn't back him to win with bad money.
You have just posted the biggest load of cr*p ive ever read on these forums,and im sure anyone reading this will agree.
Win or not,What a friend has the best form,is the best handicapped,and is improving,so must be regarded as the number one candidate for favouritism,especially as The midnight club has only had 8 chase starts(every winner has had 10 since 1990,apart from miinnehoma who had 9,but had very high class form).
Im not actually sure how such an inexperienced horse like the Midnight club has actually been installed as favourite.
When talking about FICTICIOUS gambles,then surely this is it,on all known trends,The Midnight Club cannot possibly win the National,to my mind,bookies are useing the Mullins/Walsh combination to con punters,not for the first time.
Report Mr Mischief March 31, 2011 10:19 PM BST
247 whisht[:x]
keep it schtum till we know the ground at leastCool
Report Angel Gabrial March 31, 2011 10:37 PM BST
I think Midnight Club is a worthy favourite 247. He is an unexposed 10 year old, which is unusual. He finishes his races off really well and the Grand National trip could bring out more improvement. I wouldnt follow the trends blindly. Midnight Run looks the ideal type and like i said is unexposed.
Report Angel Gabrial March 31, 2011 10:38 PM BST
**The Midnight Club ** that is
Report OnOffer March 31, 2011 10:45 PM BST
"What a friend has had 3 starts this season,and improved massively on each  one."

Yeah primed for the Gold Cup and now peaked??

I like my Grand National horses to be primed and targeted for the race and not to treat the race as an after thought because of an handicap advantage.

I can see why he's well liked but he isn't for me.
Report Paul4 March 31, 2011 11:03 PM BST
OnOffer, i do kind of agree that i would rather a horse was targeting the race as first choice, but surely him being 15lb well in (regardless of what each of us think, thats on the official handicap by the person who creates the weights) must alleviate that doubt a fair bit? its not a small handicap advantage, it's monstrous!!
Report Reefer 2001 March 31, 2011 11:06 PM BST
I like this thread.

The one point I would make is the comparison to My Will.  My Will managed a 13 length 3rd in the Grand National after running a 24 length 5th to Kauto in the Gold Cup.  My Will went off at 9-1 and raced off a mark of 152.  What A Friend in my eyes is a far superior horse to My Will and races of 156.  My Will was a small horse who was no better than a handicapper.  If Nicholls can get My Will so close after a similiar prep then why can't he get WOF ready.  The recent drift is related to the non existent rain and 14's on here still looks value.
Report 247lol April 1, 2011 12:44 AM BST
Well i cant understand why hes drifted because theres been no rain,that doesnt make sense,won the totesport bowl on GOOD,4th beaten 11 lengths in the gold cup in a course record !!!!
Where are people coming from here,you cant say he definitely wants it easier,because hes shown top form in grade 1 events,may i remind everyone,the National is a grade 3 !!!
It may well be the most high profile race,but thats down to the media,its long been the most exciting race to watch,and weve seen some mighty gambles come off,but weve also seen class horses win,Rough Quest,Miinnehoma(both gold cup)and horses running at the festival,Bindaree(william hill chase).
but the one thing every winnner had,was its ability to perform at a certain level,hence the trend races over the last 20 years.
2010 DONT PUSH IT.old vic (13f)alleged(11.6f)
fell in arkle 07(going well),won john smiths h'cap chase 25f aintree 09,
4th old roan h'cap chase 20f aintree 2009,won 2010 national off 11st 6 lbs
2009 MON MOME.passing sale(12f)new target.
Won the john smiths h'cap chase 20f 06,2nd welsh national 06,6th
william hill chase 08  cheltenham,10th in 08 National(hampered).won 09 national off 11st.
2008 COMPLY OR DIE.old vic(13f)furry glen(12.8)
2nd sun alliance chase 05,4th hennessy gold cup 05,7th w,hill chase 09,,won national off 10st 9lbs
2007 SILVER BIRCH.clearly bust.giolla mear.
won becher 04 aintree,fell national 06,won national 07 off 10 st 6lbs.
2006 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE.broken hearted(10.1f)la bavard(fr16.4f)
won 05 irish national,won 06 national off 10st 8lbs.
2005 HEDGEHUNTER.montelimar(11.5f)caerwent(14.1f)
4th hennessy gold cup 03,3rd welsh national 03,fell at last national 04,
won national 05 off 11st 1lb,2nd gold cup 06,2nd national 06.
2004 AMBERLEIGH HOUSE.buckskin(12.5f)al sirat.
12th supreme novice hurdle 98,5thgrand annual chase cheltenham 99,7th same race 2000,
hampered and brought down national 01,won becher chase aintree 01,9th topham aintree 02,
2nd becher chase aintree 02,3rd national 03,2nd becher chase aintree 03,won national 04
off 10st 10lbs,5th becher 04,10th national 05.
2003 MONTYS PASS.montelimar(11.5f)monksfield(13f)
5th mildmay of fleet cheltenham 02,2nd topham aintree 02,won national 03 off 10st 7lbs.
2002 BINDAREE.roselier(16f)main reef(9.7f)
4th sun alliance hurdle cheltenham 2000,4th john hughes trophy 22f aintree 01,3rd welsh national 01,
7th william hill chase cheltenham 02,won national 02 off 10st 4lbs,6th national 03.
2001 RED MARAUDER.gunner b(11.3f)precipice wood.
fell national 2000,10th irish national 2000,5th hennessy gold cup 2000,won national 01 off 10st 11lbs.
2000 PAPILLON.lafontaine(11.4f)prince hansel.
4th irish national 97,8th kim muir chase cheltenham 98,2nd irish national 98,8th champion chase
cheltenham 99,10th irish national 99,won national 2000 off 10st 12lbs.
1999 BOBBYJO.bustinetto.appiani
won irish national 98,won national 99 off 10 st.
1998 EARTH SUMMIT.celtic cone(9.7f)national trust.
7th sun alliance chase 94,2nd welsh national 94,5th hennessy gold cup 95,won welsh national 97,
won national 98 off 10st 5lbs,won becher chase aintree 98,8th national 99.
1997.LORD GYLLENE.ring the bell(nz)crest of the wave.
2nd midlands grand national 97,won national 97 off 10st.
1996.ROUGH QUEST.crash course(18f)private walk(14.8f)
4th sun alliance chase 92,won the ritz club chase cheltenham 95(william hill),2nd gold cup 96,
won national 96 off 10st 7lbs.
1995.ROYAL ATHLETE.roselier(16f).darantus.
fell gold cup 90,3rd gold cup 93,fell irish national93,fell hennessy gold cup 93,won national 95
off 10st 6lbs.
1994.MIINNEHOMA.kambalda(12f)choral society.
3rd welsh national 92,7th gold cup 94,won national 94 off 10st 8lbs,3rd gold cup 95.
1993  void
1992.PARTY POLITICS.politico(usa)royalty(16f).
PU gold cup 91,2nd hennessy gold cup 91,2nd welsh national 91,won national 92 off 10st 7lbs,
3rd welsh national 94,2nd national 95.
1991.SEAGRAM.balak.bally royal.
3rd ritz club chase cheltenham(william hill)90,9th hennessy gold cup 90,won ritz club 91(william hill),
Won national 91 off 10st 6lbs.

1990.MR FRISK.bivouac(12.5f)sunacelli.
3rd hennessy gold cup 88 & 89,4th kim muir 90,won national 90 off 10st 6lbs.
As you will not doubt see,there are definite trends,proven class,ability that puts you a notch above the others,because they ran in top class races.
Something which fits the likes of What a friend,State of play,Tidal bay(very similar to dont push its profile)right in the picture as possible winners
Report trev w April 1, 2011 5:52 PM BST
reefer..i like it too...diff. opinions without too many dc.

however cot...for someone handing out waf the fukk can you say you have covered him ffsLaugh
Report Albion Dan April 1, 2011 6:17 PM BST
Just my opinion, but I don't think WAF will have been worked on so much that he would leave his race beind at Cheltenham prior to the GC, as surely PFN sees him as more of an Aintree horse. Again, not saying that the Gold Cup was a prep run as I think they were expecting him to do himself justice in the race.
Report Angel Gabrial April 1, 2011 10:31 PM BST
The weather forecast is looking good, and i have gone in at 14.5 and 14. I didnt take all the fancy prices you chaps have im happy enough as it must be 8/1 or less on the day. The is by far the class in the race and in the last couple of years we are seeing a change in weight trens favouring the high weights.
Report 247lol April 1, 2011 10:55 PM BST
Def the class,def trade at 8/1 or shorter,can def visualize a major punt soon.
Report Angel Gabrial April 2, 2011 8:57 AM BST
What a friend is obviously a ground dependent runner, if its good ground im sure he will go off fav.
Report buddeliea April 2, 2011 9:32 AM BST
grade 1 win on soft,cant be that ground dependant!!
Report Angel Gabrial April 2, 2011 10:14 AM BST
Breathing op  and the Grand National trip make him ground dependent Bud.
Report Albion Dan April 2, 2011 2:18 PM BST
Ground dependant in the sense that he runs 10+ pounds better on good ground.
Report Mooono April 2, 2011 5:43 PM BST
I know everyone on this thread is going to be biased towards the chances of WAF but i really think hes a bigger dog than Beethoven..He may of won 7 of his 15 starts but this horse is a headcase (nap)..Can maybe see it running on into 5th looking like its still full of running..The horse has a touch of class with a messed up mind...Will eat my hat if this wins the National..
Report Albion Dan April 2, 2011 5:51 PM BST
He didnt show any of his doggy tendencies in the gold cup, maybe wind op and blinkers have straightened him out.
Report cryoftruth April 2, 2011 5:56 PM BST
What a Fido might have done a bit better for blinkers once but they often don't do any good the second time.

I really cannot see this softy wanting to lug the weight round 4.5 miles or enjoy the fences or anything else. I would back him to refuse if this was possible. I would have him as a 10/1 shot to get to the 4th fences.
Report Facts April 2, 2011 7:56 PM BST
^ I have to admit I have backed What A Friend as a saver as he is well in at the weights!

Stated in your previous post !!
Report TYSON 2 April 2, 2011 8:10 PM BST
will show my arse in woolworths window if this wins national. wont complete,should have left him in the bowl. that was a tough run for him in the cup!will be laying him for a place, along with rubys mount for my whole bank on saturday**** or bust!!
Report Facts April 2, 2011 9:34 PM BST
thought woolworths were finished ?
Report Reefer 2001 April 3, 2011 10:53 AM BST
One thing for sure that Fergie won't be watching.  Good ground looking likely now.
Report eric_morris April 3, 2011 11:16 AM BST
What A Friend reminds me of a giraffe, very ungainly misproportioned strange neck movement.

Very classy will be the closest you will ever get to a giraffe navigating the National fences. Can giraffes win Nationals? Maybe we will see.
Report Angel Gabrial April 3, 2011 9:29 PM BST
Fergie will watch it i guarantee.[;)]
Report Facts April 3, 2011 10:16 PM BST
why an earth would he want to miss his horse winning the National ?
Report Mr Mischief April 3, 2011 10:24 PM BST
Im sure he doesn't want to miss it but Utd are at home to Fulham @ 3pm on Saturday, National gets underway at 4.15. Im sure he'll find a way esp now as Utd seem to have the title sown up. You can beat Fulham anytime but it's not everyday you'll have one of the Favs running in the Grand National
Report trev w April 3, 2011 10:24 PM BST
think it depends on if its half time or not..
Report 247lol April 3, 2011 11:26 PM BST
Just remember,NO horse has won the national in the last 20 years having had so few chase starts,do you really think The Midnight Club has the class,best run beaten by 2 horses pulled up in the gold cup!!!
Rest my case.
Report Angel Gabrial April 4, 2011 8:20 AM BST
I think its safe to say the weight trends have gone out the window these days, and it does lead the way to the classier types, especially on good ground. Yet the possitives about TMC are that he looks to be improving still and he will relish the trip. Yet from a handicapping point of view What a Friend should canter all over him for 3.5 miles but its what happens for the whole race that counts.
Report downallstar April 4, 2011 12:24 PM BST
Don't Push It (IRE) 11    11 10
Tidal Bay (IRE) 10    11 9
Vic Venturi (IRE) 11    11 6
What A Friend (GB) 8    11 6
Majestic Concorde (IRE) 8    11 5
Or Noir de Somoza (FR) 9    11 5
Dooneys Gate (IRE) 10    11 4
Big Fella Thanks (GB) 9    11 1
Ballabriggs (IRE) 10    11 0
The Tother One (IRE) 10    11 0
Niche Market (IRE) 10    10 13
The Midnight Club (IRE) 10    10 13
Backstage (FR) 9    10 12
Chief Dan George (IRE) 11    10 12
Silver By Nature (GB) 9    10 12
Calgary Bay (IRE) 8    10 10
Killyglen (IRE) 9    10 10
Oscar Time (IRE) 10    10 9
Becauseicouldntsee (IRE) 8    10 8
Comply Or Die (IRE) 12    10 8
Northern Alliance (IRE) 10    10 8
Quinz (FR) 7    10 8
Quolibet (FR) 7    10 8
Grand Slam Hero (IRE) 10    10 7
Roll Along (IRE) 11    10 7
King Fontaine (IRE) 8    10 6
State of Play (GB) 11    10 6
Hello Bud (IRE) 13    10 5
In Compliance (IRE) 11    10 5
Santa's Son (IRE) 11    10 5
West End Rocker (IRE) 9    10 5
Bluesea Cracker (IRE) 9    10 4
Can't Buy Time (IRE) 9    10 4
Character Building (IRE) 11    10 4
Ornais (FR) 9    10 4
Piraya (FR) 8    10 4
Surface To Air (GB) 10    10 4
That's Rhythm (FR) 11    10 4
Arbor Supreme (IRE) 9    10 3
Our Monty (IRE) 8    10 3
Royal Rosa (FR) 12    10 3
Always Waining (IRE) 10    10 2
Golden Kite (IRE) 9    10 2
Skippers Brig (IRE) 10    10 2
Belon Gale (IRE) 8    10 1
Faasel (IRE) 10    10 1
Le Beau Bai (FR) 8    10 1
Merigo (FR) 10    10 1
Putney Bridge (GB) 9    10 1
Askthemaster (IRE) 11    10 0
Giles Cross (IRE) 9    10 0
Saddlers Storm (IRE) 9    10 0
Starzaan (IRE) 12    10 0
Ambobo (USA) 11    9 13
Duers (IRE) 9    9 13
Sagalyrique (FR) 7    9 13
Toby Jug (GB) 10    9 13
Galant Nuit (FR) 7    9 12
Junior (GB) 8    9 12
The Sawyer (BEL) 11    9 12
Ballyfitz (GB) 11    9 9
I'moncloudnine (IRE) 8    9 9
Pomme Tiepy (FR) 8    9 9
Treacle (IRE) 10    9 4
Regal Heights (IRE) 10    9 2
Report sintonian April 4, 2011 12:34 PM BST
Fergie has a touchline ban at the moment and will be in the stands. He can easily sneak off for 15 minutes.
Report Mully April 4, 2011 1:14 PM BST
Still raining at Aintree.
Report Reefer 2001 April 4, 2011 6:26 PM BST
Relax.  Gd/sft, good places as of 5pm.  Gd/sft tomorrow and then it will dry from then on.  If he waters, it will be a disgrace.
Report Mr Mischief April 4, 2011 6:30 PM BST
No need whatsoever for watering by the sounds of it

Rain eases conditions for Grand National meeting
By James Burn 5:08PM 4 APR 2011

THE ground at Aintree was on Monday described by clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch as "lovely" following 3mm of rain on Sunday night, which eased the going.

Showers are also forecast for Tuesday morning, but conditions are set to improve in the afternoon and remain that way for the rest of the week with highs of 18C expected.

The ground on the Grand National course was eased to good to soft, good in places, while the Mildmay and hurdle tracks were changed to good, good to soft in places.

"It should brighten up tomorrow afternoon and stay like that on Wednesday," Tulloch said.

"We'd be happy if we got 3-4mm of rain again and we'll see what we what we get tomorrow before deciding on watering. It's lovely ground and I'm very pleased with how things look."
Report cryoftruth April 4, 2011 7:34 PM BST

why get facts in the eay of a good post.

Yes I've saved, and yes He is a complete barker.

Trouble is he is quite a talented barker.

He would probably taste quite nice with Dijon mustard and fries; and he would surely win at Crufts.
Report Mr Mischief April 4, 2011 8:08 PM BST
Not bitter enough for your taste so I take it
Report flushgordon April 14, 2011 6:28 PM BST
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