The first Aintree races of the current National Hunt season took place at the weekend. Fans were eager to see who would do well, particularly in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase which is run over the Grand National fences.
The race more than lived up to expectations after Mac Tottie beat Senior Citizen in a ding-dong battle to land the Grand Sefton. His trainer Peter Bowen was confident that he would be returning to Merseyside once again with the eight-year-old for a tilt at the 2022 Grand National.
Welshman Bowen’s excellent record over the famous fences now extends to five victories after adding the standalone Grand Sefton Handicap Chase to his Aintree tally.
Four winners of the Topham Chase at the National meeting started in 2007 with Dunbrody Millar, and then were followed by Always Waining’s hat-trick between 2010 and 2012.
The Steve and Jackie Fleetham-owned Mac Tottie finished last of four at Fontwell last month, but the National fences appeared to spark him back into life and he jumped well throughout the entirety of the 2m 5f contest.
Senior Citizen looked his main danger up the run-in, but the 20/1 shot Mac Tottie knuckled down well to fend him off by a length with there being a further 12 lengths back to the third-placed horse.
Trainer Reaction To Mac Tottie Win
Peter Bowen said straight after the race: “That was good. It’s the fifth time we’ve won round those fences – it’s been a lucky place for us.
“I have no idea why they seem to take to it. We do a lot of loose schooling, and they seem to find their own way from there.”
Mac Tottie and James Bowen take the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree. pic.twitter.com/pSW2o18Kow
— Steve Mullington (@mulldog) November 6, 2021
He added: “We just missed out in the National with Mckelvey, and hopefully this will end up being a National horse – I think he’ll stay.
“He came here in good form. Things didn’t go quite right for him last time, because he lost a shoe and didn’t really stride out after that.
“He could come back here for the Becher next month, but we’ll see how he is and speak to the owners.”
Other Contenders And How They Faired
There was a lot of expectation from Jonjo O’Neill’s Time To Get Up ahead of the race. On the basis that he would do well, bookmakers had him at 33/1 ante-post for the Grand National in April 2022.
However, he ran poorly, hovering towards the rear of midfield and even after Tom Scudamore tried to rally him along, he really struggled three out. He tailed off completely and was lucky to even finish the race in last position.
With no explanation for why he ran so badly, bookmakers revised their thinking and his 2022 Grand National odds drifted to as much as 50/1 antepost.
Surprisingly, despite winning the actual race, Mac Tottie is currently also on ante-post odds of 50/1 for the Grand National.
Hogan’s Height from trainer Jamie Snowdon did well again. He was running a decent race but faded however the vet subsequently said that lost his right-fore shoe.
Having already finished in 12th spot in the Grand National earlier this year, and successfully getting around the fences again, if he gets another entry for 2022 he could be one to watch.
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