Moonshine may get National opportunity
Published 11/02/2014 | 08:30
On the eve of the release of the weights for the 2014 Crabbie's Grand National, last year's winning trainer and jockey Sue Smith and Ryan Mania teamed up for a double at Catterick.
Unfortunately Auroras Encore has been forced into retirement and will not be able to bid for a repeat, but despite that recent blow Smith and Mania have been enjoying a good season.
In Mr Moonshine they have a National possible on their hands after his win at Warwick and youngster Blakemount is a lively outsider for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.
Herdsman and Pinerolo were their two winners, with Mania donning Festival-winning silks on both occasions as Herdsman is owned by Trevor Hemmings and Pinerolo runs in the old Mister McGoldrick colours.
Herdsman (11-2) won the £12,000 Weatherbys Private Banking Handicap Chase by two and a quarter lengths from the staying-on Everaard and could be Eider Chase-bound.
"I think he's best in small fields, he sulked a bit at Haydock last time out," said Mania.
"He's got loads of scope and stays all day, but he's had plenty of problems."
Hemmings' racing manager Mick Meagher said: "We'll think of something like the Eider Chase but you'd have to worry about that being on, it's only a week on Saturday (at Newcastle).
"He's in the four-miler at Cheltenham but we'll have to see, he stays very well."
Pinerolo (13-8 favourite) justified strong support in the market to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap Chase in fine style.
Last of three behind two classy types at Wetherby, he was far from disgraced and with the winner of that contest Many Clouds heading for the Reynoldstown and the runner-up, Indian Castle, subsequently winning at Cheltenham, the form is clearly useful.
Smith said: "I think the step up to three miles has helped him, but I was concerned about the ground, it is very sticky out there.
"I'm pleased for the owners, it's been a long time since Mister McGoldrick was winning races for them.
"He wasn't disgraced at Wetherby, I suppose, but he was beaten a fair way."
Smith's husband Harvey said: "I think the others just stopped, hopefully the handicapper will take that into consideration."
Mrs Smith added of Mr Moonshine: "I rode him myself this morning, he's absolutely fresh as a daisy.
"Given who the owners are they are obviously very keen to have a crack at the National with him.
"He's won his last two races over two and a half miles, though, so there's also the Topham to consider, we'll have to talk it through."