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Grand National Festival: Yorkhill can sail to success in Mersey Novices’ Hurdle

| 09.04.2016

David Metcalf | April 8, 2016

Yorkhill impossible to oppose

Neptune winner Yorkhill looks a cut above his rivals and impossible to oppose on Grand National day in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree (14:25).

Trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins, the gelding looked a top notch prospect last season when unbeaten in two bumpers and confirmed that view when putting a faultless jumping performance to score easily by 8 1/2 lengths on his hurdles debut at Punchestown.

Yorkhill then took the step up into Grade 1 company in his stride to register a comfortable 2 1/4 length success in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

The six-year-old has since gone on to post a career-best effort when taking the scalp of the highly-regarded Yanworth in the Neptune Investement Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival when last seen in action.

Performance which oozed class


After travelling strongly throughout in mid-divsion, Yorkhill scythed through the field to be on the heels of the leaders turning for him before showing a good turn of foot to take up the running at the last.

The son of Presenting then kept on strongly to fend off Yanworth by 1 1/2 lengths, with the pair pulling seven lengths clear of the third home.

It was a performance which oozed class, and the form of the race sets a very high standard.

An official rating of 156 also gives Yorkhill 12lb and upwards in hand on his rivals and, granted a clear round, this is his for the taking.

Flying Angel the forecast choice

Sandown Saturday

Flying Angel has a progressive profile and looks the one most likely to chase home Yorkhill.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained five-year-old ran a blinder for an inexperienced novice when third of 22 to Agrapart in the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, before showing a good attitude to land a valuable contest at Sandown.

Flying Angel backed that up with a cracking second of 24 to Ibis De Rheu in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, sticking to the task well and only getting collared close home.

The gelding is a really tough likeable sort who should have even more to offer, but this is a big step up in class and realistically he is playing for second place.


Discover lots of Grand National Festival tips and previews by visiting our Aintree page.

Coral’s top tip: Yorkhill looks in a different league to his rivals and a worthy long odds-on favourite to land the spoils. Flyng Angel can fill the forecast spot.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.