NOBLE Yeats (162) defied a multitude of Grand National statistics on Saturday to become the youngest winner of the prestigious race in the modern era while confirming his rider’s near legendary status over the famous Aintree fences.
The shock 50/1 winning novice recorded a time of 9min 4.7secs which fits very nicely alongside recent winners One For Arthur (9min 3.5secs) and Tiger Roll (9m 1.0secs, in 2019) when the ground conditions were all described as good to soft.
I would therefore rate the performance at 162, which would also point to Any Second Now (159) running to his allotted handicap mark for Saturday’s race.
The application of 5mm of water overnight on Friday means there is a slight risk attached to any literal comparison of the sectional times with the previous day’s Topham Chase although, the data reveals the National field were travelling at a similar speed as Mac Tottie (145) early on the second circuit on what would have been softer ground.
The final circuit time of the Topham Chase winner was eventually 6.3secs faster as the extra distance took its toll on the National runners, also illustrating Saturday’s contest was its usual extreme test of stamina.
Having just his eighth start over fences, Emmet Mullins’ gelding boasted a five-and-a-half-length second to Ahoy Senor in Wetherby’s Towton Novices’ Chase as his best piece of form.
The feature of the event at the Yorkshire track was the fast-finishing circuit and the form reads particularly well with Ahoy Senor himself becoming a Grade 1 winner on Friday.
Ashtown Lad, who finished third, went onto claim a creditable fifth in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and Saint Palais landed a valuable novices’ handicap chase at Uttoxeter on his next start.
I would suggest Ashtown Lad and Saint Palais are very high on the shortlist for the premier staying handicap chases early next season.
Considering the pace early on the final circuit, Longhouse Poet (145+) would make plenty of appeal if returning next year. After travelling strongly through the section to Becher’s Brook second time, the eight-year-old made an uncharacteristic mistake at Foinavon.
Darragh O’Keefe was quick to react and, with his partner spring healed at the Canal Turn, they went to the front which probably turned out to be a shade earlier than desired but somewhat unavoidable in the circumstances.
Although weakening on the run in, Martin Brassil’s gelding still finished well clear of those who raced around him heading out on the final circuit, the winner excluded.