Racing: Forster has Mandate to take National trial
The former National Hunt jockey Steve Smith Eccles (right) gives a runner-by-runner analysis of today's John Hughes Grand National Trial.
Saturday 21 February 1998
River Mandate: Winner at Wetherby last time, beating the in-form Strath Royal. If the ground is on the soft side he would have a definite chance.
Ottowa: A lucky winner of the National trial at Uttoxeter when the clear leader Kamikaze unseated his rider two fences from home. Nevertheless, Ottowa ran a big race and connections expect him to improve for it.
St Mellion Fairway: Could figure in the places if there is enough give in the ground.
Destin D'Estruval: Held on form by River Mandate. Loves heavy ground, though, and normally jumps well.
Dom Samourai: Game as a pebble and loves this course. He is sure to be staying on at the end if the going is soft enough for him, but may just lack finishing speed.
Idiot's Lady: Would have to improve to reach the frame.
Parsons Boy: Pulled up last time and needs to do better.
Orswell Lad: A tricky character who is not an easy ride, but has been running well lately.
General Pongo: Cannot win on all known form.
Thermal Warrior: In great form this season but is out of the handicap.
Conclusion: RIVER MANDATE is the form horse in the race after ending Strath Royal's winning streak at Wetherby. His trainer, Captain Forster, does really well with these big, old fashioned chasing types. Ottowa has to be thereabouts after winning the National Trial at Uttoxeter.
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