Richard Lee has made absolutely no secret of the fact (and the statistics plainly speak for themselves), that without the mud flying his Grand National 2011 hope Le Beau Bai has little hope of running with credit in the Aintree marathon, writes Elliot Slater.
With the advance going at Uttoxeter having been given as ‘soft’ ahead of Saturday’s Midlands Grand National Handicap Chase, Lee and the Glass Half Full racing syndicate who own the French bred eight-year-old must have been optimistic that conditions would be more or less suitable for their mudlark to run with credit having disappointed in the contest 12 months earlier on his beloved heavy ground when a strong fancy for honours.
It might well prove to be the case that as well as having to contend with drying ground on Saturday that was officially reported as ‘good to soft’ Le Beau Bai simply doesn’t like Uttoxeter as, in much the same way as he flopped in the 2010 renewal, he was never going well and was tailed of soon after halfway, eventually being pulled up at the 16th, a long way from home. Anyone looking for Aintree Grand National tips should avoid Le Beau Bai unless the rain comes down.
Having run so well on his previous outing to finish third to leading Grand National contender Silver By Nature in the Grade 3 Grand National Trial at Haydock in February, and prior to that run another solid race to come home fourth to West End Rocker in Warwick’s Grade 3 Classic Chase, the Uttoxeter effort has to be seen as something of a setback for the current 80/1 shot.
Realistically, Le Beau Bai’s Aintree hopes rest on a spell of wet weather deluging the track in the week leading up to the race. If the ground comes up soft or ideally heavy, then he would certainly have a chance to belie his current odds. If the sun shines though, he’d probably have to start now to have any serious hope of success.