If In Doubt Rely On Top Weight In Irish Grand National
One of the few disadvantages of being the most successful national hunt jockey in the history of the sport is that every now and again a decision has to be made regarding which horse to ride in a particular major race, the choice of Shutthefrontdoor or Cause Of Causes in next weekend’s Crabbie’s Grand National a high-profile example for Tony McCoy, and the 19-time champion was faced with another dilemma in selecting his Irish Grand National mount at Fairyhouse on Monday, eventually electing to partner the well-backed Cantlow over the Philip Hobbs-trained If In Doubt.
There is little doubt that the Paul Webber-trained ten-year-old is well handicapped on his best form and has been dropped 14lb since finishing eighth in this race 12 month’s ago but the son of Kayf Tara has been very disappointing this season and needs to improve significantly to justify recent support while JP McManus’s top weight is open to plenty of improvement after just five runs over fences and could easily outclass the opposition at the 16-1 available with Betvictor and Coral.
After getting off the mark as a chaser when successful in a Catterick beginners chase last December the Heron Island gelding justified favouritism on his first start in a handicap when running out an easy winner of Doncaster’s valuable Skybet Chase, despite putting in an indifferent round of jumping on Town Moor, and on the strength of that victory was upped in class for his next start when contesting the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
While unable to match strides with the leading staying novice Don Poli, If In Doubt would probably have finished third in another 100 yards or so and looks certain to appreciate Fairyhouse’s stamina test, and with decent claimer Ger Fox taking 5lb off a big run looks guaranteed providing the seven-year-old puts in an adequate round of jumping. With a maximum field of 30 set to go to post this looks even more competitive than Aintree’s spectacular five days later with Perfect Gentleman, The Job Is Right, Lots Of Memories and Champagne Fever all feared in a wide-open contest.