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MTS Cleansing Services Grand National - Central Park 480M - £8,000

It is always difficult to compare dogs running today with those from the past. To be honest it is a worthless exercise given the better track conditions, superior feeding regimes and more advanced training methods applied today, amongst other things.

But I would love to see Razldazl Raidio against some of the great hurdlers of yesteryear. Imagine a race containing the likes of Sherrys Prince, Topothetide, Kildare Slippy, El Tenor and Razldazl Raidio. Wow. It will never happen but there is nothing wrong in dreaming.

But back to the Tuesday and the final of the £8,000 MTS Cleaning Services Grand National for which the aforementioned Razldazl Raidio, after regaining his track record over this 480 metres hurdles trip in the semi-finals, will start an odds-on favourite.

It is hard to image Razldazl Raidio not winning this if he does everything right, particularly from trap six. But he can occasionally put in a disappointing run – remember the William Hill Springbok earlier in the year when Ballymac Manix was there to pick up the pieces?

Ballymac Manix, trained by Seamus Cahill, twice a Grand National winner, is again in the line-up and comes into the race in good form having taken Razldazl Raidio’s best for the trip in the first round before having it taken back again at the semi-final stage.

Razldazl Raidio, whose trainer Ricky Holloway won this event for the first time last year with Mos Bullet, has a lovely way of approaching the hurdles. He spends very little time in the air but looks completely safe.

With anything like a normal break, Razldazl Raidio should be well placed around the first and second bends and can shade it from his old adversary, Ballymac Manix along the far side.

It’s pretty much any price you like the remaining quartet. Barry O’Sullivan, having landed the Ladbrokes Gold Collar with Yahoo Victor last week, has his runners in good form and will have Bua Frank ready to run the race of his life.

We have to go right back to 1996 to find O’Sullivan’s one winner of the Grand National. That was Dynamic Display.

Friday’s Sean is in the care of O’Sullivan’s Crayford training colleague Julie Luckhurst. She has yet to land the Grand National but will no doubt ask for advice from Dinky, her father, who was successful back in 1986 with the brilliant Castlelyons Cash and two years later with Breeks Rocket.

Coolavanny Bono was seven lengths behind Razdazl Raidio in the semi-finals but Bob Pattinson’s dog is the only railer and should at the very least get a trouble-free run on the fence.

Whilst Sidarian Blitz, trained by Heather Dimmock, is well held on heat form but is worthy of his place in the decider.

The Final Draw

1 Coolavanny Bono

2 Ballymac Manix (m)

3 Sidarian Blitz (m)

4 Fridays Sean (w)

5 Bua Frank (w)

6 Razldazl Raidio (w)

The First Semi-Final

Ballymac Manix, the William Hill Springbok winner, overcame a slow start to lead at the first bend and to go on for a comfortable two length success over Friday’s Sean and secure a place in the final. Despite a very poor start, it was overall a pretty decent performance from the dog that had set new figures for the track and trip at the first round stage. His 29.38sec (0.10sec slow) in this was a couple of lengths slower than his opening stage effort but it was nevertheless good enough to control this contest. Bua Frank moved into third place at the second bend and stayed on well enough to hold on to the remaining qualifying position.

 

The Second Semi-Final

Razldazl Raidio, clearly smarting from losing his track record to Ballymac Manix at the first round stage, re-established himself as the fastest over course and distance with a smooth more than seven lengths victory over Coolavanny Bono in 28.99sec (normal). This was as good a performance over the jumps as I’ve seen for a while and it means that the Ricky Holloway-trained Razldazl Raidio has now won his last four races by a combined 29 lengths. Coolavanny Bono kept the distance respectable along the far side but he couldn’t maintain it for the full trip and faded late on. The third and remaining qualifying position went Sidarian Pearl who had every chance.