Mangan shows Aintree credentials

Whinstone Boy's Clonmel win boosts trainer's hopes of second National victory

The Turf grows in many different hues. Within barely a couple of hours, punters yesterday had their attention wrested from the soggy pastures of Clonmel, Co Tipperary, to the spangling new racecourse at Meydan, which seemed no less than a desert mirage in contrast. Remote as they were, both environments renewed a familiar tale from the home front.

At Clonmel, Jimmy Mangan saddled Whinstone Boy to confirm himself a genuine contender for the John Smith's Grand National. Mangan's name meant little in Ireland, and nothing beyond, before he won the 2003 running with Monty's Pass. The resources of his Co Cork stable have remained pretty modest, in the meantime, so the fact that he now has another legitimate shot at the great race only corroborates the acuity behind the famous gamble landed by Monty's Pass that day.

Whinstone Boy was himself heavily backed when winning the Thyestes Chase at Thurles only a couple of weeks ago. That was just his fifth start over fences, but he is really blossoming now and yesterday he coped imperturbably with a drop in distance, to two and a half miles, in a small field. Always racing with gusto in the lead, he stayed on strongly to beat Leanne by two and a half lengths. Glencove Marina, the favourite, was held in fourth when falling at the last. With the Aintree handicap due to be published on Tuesday week, Mangan has now shown enough of his hand to be optimistic that Whinstone Boy will end up with a racing weight. Previously, with a marginal rating, he might well have missed the cut.

"Liverpool is the plan and that win won't do any harm," said Mangan, who retains the unassuming air that distinguished his colourful achievement with Monty's Pass. "It was mighty, really. Stamina is his plus, and I'll be doing a rain dance in Liverpool. He'll also get an entry for the Irish National – but if the ground was fast he wouldn't run in either."

Even with that caveat in mind, bookmakers could hardly be accused of parsimony in offering quotes of 33-1 against Whinstone Boy. The one obvious reservation remains, however, that the horse is very short of experience over fences.

Over in Dubai, another forgotten face restored himself to attention when Crowded House finished second in the first race ever staged on the turf track at Meydan. Though Alexandros had sewn up the Al Rashidiya Stakes at his leisure, it was heartening to see Crowded House pass the rest of the field after being dropped out and failing to settle early.

This was the flashy colt whose dazzling success in the Racing Post Trophy had qualified him as the outstanding juvenile of 2008, but whose career as a three-year-old serves as an uncomfortable rebuke to those of us already saluting St Nicholas Abbey as a Classic winner in waiting. He scoped poorly after a lifeless comeback in the Dante last May, contrived a respectable midfield finish in the Derby, and then disappeared until last night. Brian Meehan, his trainer, was suitably pleased by his purposeful finish, suggesting that he would have been ill-served by the steady early pace.

In quickening away to win by three lengths, Alexandros looked a rather more dynamic beast than previously in a career that has so far confined him to the margins of the elite. The Godolphin stable, which had two other winners on the card, has obviously begun its local carnival in formidable fettle.

Frankie Dettori dignified this landmark success, on the new grass track, with a flying dismount. "This horse runs well in Dubai, and also goes really well fresh," he said. "Nine furlongs fits him like a glove. I was a bit scared, because this fellow likes a bit of cut, and the track walked pretty firm. But it rides very differently, it's fabulous."

Frozen Fire, the former Irish Derby winner discarded by Ballydoyle after seeming to lose interest last season, meanwhile offered little sign of renewed enthusiasm on his debut for Mike de Kock, labouring into midfield. But the South African trainer none the less enhanced his amazing record in Dubai with another double, through Musir and Mr Brock.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

Nap

Super Baby (2.10 Catterick)

Improved in cheekpieces last winter and looked capable of further progress when shaping nicely on his reappearance. Hasn't really built on that in two runs since, but excuses on both occasions and has been freshened up in the meantime.



Next best

Hayes Princess (3.35 Bangor)

From stable back among the winners after a lean spell, this mare remains unexposed after scoring nicely on her hurdling debut at Towcester in the autumn. Disappointing on her next start, but entitled to considerable improvement over extra half-mile.



One to watch

Victors Serenade (A J Honeyball) made a promising start at Windsor on Monday, staying on strongly for fifth after being taken off his feet early.



*Where the money's going

Tidal Bay is 9-1 from 10-1 with the sponsors to crown his rehabilitation over timber in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride