Racing: Jodami aims to resume winning role at Sandown: Many of the Festival's supporting cast are booked for Aintree, but the winner of today's Midlands National may not prove inferior

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The Independent Online
CLEAN bills of health were returned yesterday by the placed horses and also-rans in Thursday's Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and many of them will now attempt to secure a major prize of their own before the end of the season.

Jodami, who failed by a length and a half to win his second Gold Cup, will carry top weight in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown if the going remains good or softer. 'He stayed overnight at Cheltenham and when I left him he seemed as right as rain,' Anthea Farrell, daughter of Jodami's trainer, Peter Beaumont, said yesterday.'

There was optimism too from Nigel Twiston-Davies, whose Young Hustler was a further four lengths behind Jodami in third. His next target is the Grand National on 9 April, for which he is a 14-1 chance with William Hill. 'We were absolutely thrilled with his performance and he has come out of the race very well,' a stable spokesperson said.

Aintree is also on the schedule of Bradbury Star, though since the Gold Cup exposed the limit of his stamina, the Martell Cup, over three miles and a furlong on the National meeting's opening day, is the target for Josh Gifford's gelding. 'He ran a cracking race but just didn't seem to stay the extra couple of furlongs,' the trainer said. Lining up against Bradbury Star will be Docklands Express, winner of the race last year and sixth behind The Fellow on Thursday.

Topsham Bay, who belied his starting price of 100-1 by running prominently until three fences from home, should now be in perfect condition for the National itself. 'He ran very well but couldn't quicken three out,' David Barons, who saddled Seagram, the 1991 National winner, said yesterday. 'He is absolutely fine now and that should have put him spot on. If he takes to the National fences, and I can see no reason why he shouldn't, he will run very well at Liverpool.

The extra mile and a quarter at Liverpool should give Topsham Bay, a 20-1 chance, every hope of reversing Cheltenham form with The Fellow and Young Hustler. 'The National is a totally different race,' Barons said. 'He ran three miles in top gear on Thursday and he can do it for four. Can they?'

Ante-post National punters were yesterday more interested in Double Silk, who won the Foxhunters' Chase in a canter half an hour after The Fellow's success. His is now an 8-1 chance (from 10-1) with Ladbrokes, behind The Fellow at 7-1 with a run. The firm also offer 10-1 Young Hustler, 12-1 (from 10-1) Master Oats, 14-1 (from 12-1) Moorcroft Boy, 20-1 bar.

David Nicholson, Moorcroft Boy's trainer, passed a notable landmark in his career yesterday. At Southwell, far removed from the glamour of Cheltenham where he sent out Viking Flagship and Mysilv to success, Ramstar gave the trainer the 1,000th winner of his career.

The total (for the jumps and Flat) includes one winner in Belgium, another in France and three in Ireland and has taken 26 years to amass. 'We had a count up the other day and realised we were close,' Nicholson said. 'It would have been good to do it with Mysilv at Cheltenham yesterday, but yesterday was good anyway and today is another day.'

Ramstar responded to a typically forceful ride by Adrian Maguire, Nicholson's stable jockey. 'I'm particularly pleased Adrian's on board,' Nicholson said. 'Every winner is vital to him.' In the riders' championship, Maguire is now 16 winners ahead of Richard Dunwoody, who will return to the saddle on Thursday after his two-week suspension.

(Photograph omitted)