Racing: Thornton to herald a new dawn for Druid's

ONE of the more obvious lessons of the Grand National at Aintree nine days ago was that it is no longer a race for outsiders. If a completely unconsidered horse was ever going to win the big chase again, it would surely have been this latest renewal, which had an unusually weak field and was run in desperate conditions. Yet the punters had little trouble sorting it all out and the favourite duly came home in front.

A shame, some will say, but if the form is more reliable, few backers will complain, and anyone with winnings from Earth Summit to re-invest will approach the Irish National at Fairyhouse this afternoon with renewed confidence. This race too now seems to follow the rule that that the longer the distance, the better the chance for punters, with winners in the 1990s at even money, 6-1 (twice) and 13-2 (twice), and just one at double-figure odds. If the pattern continues today, there are perhaps no more than three horses with a serious chance, and while there is a great deal that might go wrong as this big field pounds around Fairyhouse, the claims of Miss Orchestra and Druid's Brook, the first and second favourites, are very difficult to ignore.

Miss Orchestra has a National victory to her name already this season, having beaten Kamikaze in the Midlands version at Uttoxeter last month, and her performance there, from 8lb out of the handicap, is the best bare form on offer today. Whether the intervening time is quite enough to recover from a slog through the midlands mud is a worry, however, and preference is for DRUID'S BROOK (nap 3.55), who has been well backed for this race in recent days.

Kim Bailey's season has largely been one to forget, but his string has started to run into form and one decent prize at least may find its way back to his Lambourn yard. On the face of it, Druid's Brook's run in the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown, when he was beaten by almost 30 lengths at odds of 11-10, is less than encouraging, but the blame lies entirely with his amateur rider, who allowed the horse to become detached.

With Andrew Thornton taking over today, a far better run can be expected, and this sound jumper, who will have no difficulty handling the ground, goes to post with every chance.

The main betting event of the afternoon in Britain is the Rosebery Handicap at Kempton, and this latest renewal looks particularly competitive. Three of last year's more progressive three-year-old handicappers, Prince Of Denial, Labeq and American Whisper, make their seasonal debuts, while Topatori and Mozambique arrive with good wins to their credit this year.

Topatori's recent success on an easy surface makes him an obvious favourite, but 5-1 is not much of a price in a field of such potential. The best bet is possibly to watch today's race and then mark down the winner as one to follow, but at the prices available this morning, it is hard to resist a small interest in Prince Of Denial (3.40) at the 10-1 offered by Stanley Racing. He improved through his three-year-old season and is still well weighted on the balance of that form.

The sprint handicap - rather like Saturday's over the same course and distance which produced a 16-1 winner ridden, of all people, by Kieren Fallon - looks impenetrable, but there are possibilities about Andreyev (2.35) in the Quail Stakes and the ever-dependable Russian Music (next best 3.05), who finished second in the Doncaster Mile first time out, in the Magnolia Stakes.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

NAP: Mister Jolson

(Kempton 4.10)

NB: Knobbleeneeze

(Newcastle 2.55)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there