Earlier in the week we looked at the Grand National Form of Comply Or Die. Today it is the turn of former Irish National winner, Point Barrow.
Firstly, I must state a bias here. I have backed Point Barrow but I’m very worried about my bet.
I like to try and be open minded about horses who have yet to prove their stamina but feel much happier about parting with cash when the horse in question has proved they can stay at least 3½ miles and preferably further. So, Point Barrow seemed ideal.
I also particularly like the Irish National as a trial for the Aintree version. Wins for Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde as well as a big run from the 2001 Irish National winner David’s Lad in Bindaree’s year and of course Papillon also finished runner up to Bobbyjo at Fairyhouse in 1998. So, it appears that Fairyhouse’s stamina based test, aligned to its very stiff fences, make it a great prep race for Aintree itself.
Consequently, Point Barrow looked taylor-made to me when winning the Irish race in 2006. A win in the Pierse Chase in early 2007 further increased my confidence but we all know that things haven’t quite worked out since then.
I was prepared to forgive the first fence fall in last year’s National as just over exuberance and decided to back him again for this year’s big race after a very encouraging run at Gowran Park in January 08. The comment in the Racing Post the next day ‘kept on without threatening’ and this was just the kind of thing I wanted to see. It appeared that a softly softly approach was being taken. Excellent.
However, the next two runs have worried me enormously. It can be argued that the season is being geared completely to Aintree so the outcome of prep races could be misleading but the way he went from cruising to struggling at Haydock was, for me, very worrying. Also, the suggestion that he gurgled after Down Royal brings into question if he may have a slight wind problem? If that is the case it has to be very doubtful he will win a Grand National.
Topspeed and Blinkers
I’m less concerned about some of the other potential negatives brought up on other threads such as the low Topspeed figure and blinkers situation.
Topspeed is a good indication of class but this horse is an Irish National and Pierse Chase winner so I wouldn’t have thought there would be too many worries on that score. Blinkers? Yes, could be a concern as there does seem a smaller percentage of National winners than in normal races with headgear but I’m not sure it would be a strong enough argument for me NOT to back something I fancy. If I believe something is the most likely winner I’m not going to not back it because of a trend, much as I like using them. Form analysis first, trends as a back up – not the other way round? Otherwise horses like Katchit, Captain Cee Bee, Inglis Drever, Albertas Run etc etc would never have won at Cheltenham? Obviously I didn’t back all of those but I did fancy Katchit and everyone kept telling me a five year old wasn’t going to win a Champion Hurdle – it would have hurt me a lot more not to have backed my judgement and watched it win than back a loser. Something to debate on another thread maybe??!!
A much bigger concern for me than the blinkers issue with Point Barrow is if he is 100% likely to give his true running at Aintree. If he does then I think he is the one to beat but if there is any question mark about his breathing then I doubt he will be involved in the finish.
Are you a Point Barrow fan? Any fancy prices been availed of Pat Hughes’ chaser? Anyone read anything I might have missed about the horse’s breathing?
Give us your thoughts on this thread on all things Point Barrow related.