Why Escaria Ten tickes all the boxes for Grand National glory

Escaria Ten looks sure to give his supporters a huge run for their money in the Randox Grand National at Aintree.

By Nick Robson
Friday, 8th April 2022, 1:29 pm

While his jumping may not have been suited to the unique test that Aintree posed 20 years ago, since the modifications to the fences the classier types have tended to come to the fore.

The fact Escaria Ten is quick and slick over his obstacles should not be the barrier to success it once would have been - and if he is still in contention going out for the second circuit his class edge could prevail.

This is a horse who was sent off 11-4 favourite for a red-hot renewal of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season and when he landed in front on jumping the last he looked like rewarding his supporters.

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Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool is all set for the Grand National

In the end Galvin, placed in the Gold Cup last month and a Grade One winner this season, and Next Destination, a Grade One winner over hurdles, just had a better turn of foot than him.

Escaria Ten then went to the Irish National but after an early mistake he could never get involved and was pulled up.

First time out this season - which has been solely concerned with this race - he ran a respectable race in eighth in the Thyestes before he was beaten a nose by Any Second Now in the Bobbyjo Chase.

The result of that race does not tell the whole story as Escaria Ten was the winner everywhere but the line and simply got a bit bored being out in front on his own.

He wore first-time blinkers at Fairyhouse, which are retained here, and expect Adrian Heskin to play his hand fairly late.

Others to note include the aforementioned Any Second Now, but his big chance was off a lower weight last year when he suffered interference, the Thyestes winner Longhouse Poet and Eclair Surf, based on his proximity to easy Scottish National winner Win My Wings in the Eider.

It is not all about the Grand National, though, and there are three Grade One races on the card to solve.

The JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle looks at the mercy of Flooring Porter.

Gavin Cromwell's seven-year-old was arguably given the ride of the meeting by Danny Mullins when winning a second Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham and it was so good he might not have had that hard a race.

Mullins set a stop-start gallop, stacked them all up behind him turning for home before kicking clear approaching the last to run out a comfortable winner.

Thyme Hill was second and is looking for a repeat win in this but all the evidence tells us that Flooring Porter is a quicker horse and if anything this flatter track should suit him even better. He rates nap material.

It seems churlish taking on Edwardstone who has carried all before him this season, including when overcoming trouble to win the Arkle last time out.

But in Gentleman De Mee he faces a new rival in the Poundland Maghull Novices' Chase and while some may say Edwardstone could be even better off a strong pace, which the Irish raider looks assured to set, there is a danger that on this track the leader might not come back.

Gentleman Du Mee arrives fresh, carries no battle scars and only has 3lb to find on official ratings.

Three Stripe Life is the standout pick on form in the Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle having chased home Sir Gerhard the last twice - but on neither occasion did he actually look like winning.

With that in mind the value may lie in the potential of Walking On Air.

Nicky Henderson was keen to run him in the Ballymore at Cheltenham but he was always in rush to do so after a minor setback.

He looked to have star quality that day, and given Henderson also houses Constitution Hill and Jonbon, the fact he rated him in their sphere speaks volumes.

The opening EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle is almost a rerun of the Pertemps Final from Cheltenham, with three of the first four back for more.

One who was just behind the principals was the Mouse Morris-trained Whatsnotoknow and he could possibly outrun his odds.

The Betway Handicap Chase sees Shan Blue drop hugely in grade but he hardly had an easy time chasing Allaho's shadow in the Ryanair.

One who needs to prove his stamina in Charlie Longsdon's Scene Not Herd and while his winning run ended last time out, he did look like he might be suited by stepping up in trip.

If the rain stays away he looks sure to run a good race.


1.45 Whatsnotoknow, 2.25 Walking On Air, 3.00 Gentleman De Mee, 3.35 FLOORING PORTER (NAP), 4.15 Scene Not Herd, 5.15 1. Escaria Ten, 2. Any Second Now, 3. Longhouse Poet, 4. Eclair Surf, 6.20 Rath Gaul Boy.