Market Rasen Racecourse ambassador Sean Bowen writes about his ride in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
He says: “Just A Par gave me the best day of my racing career so far at Sandown Park a year ago; now I’m hoping he can give me an even better one in the Crabbie’s Grand National on Saturday (April 9).
“I had a great spin round Aintree last April on Mon Parrain, finishing 11th. I think my horse this time has a really good chance if he runs his race.
“Just A Par has a lovely weight with 10st 6lb; that’s not too heavy compared to some of the more fancied horses. He jumps very well and had experience of the Crabbie’s Grand National fences 16 months ago in the Becher Chase – and that was when he wasn’t in form.
“To me, he’s a spring horse. He seems to do well at this time of year – as he did last April in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park. He appreciates decent ground and he’s going to get that on Saturday.
“His first two runs this season were a little disappointing, but that was on ground which he doesn’t enjoy so much. He came back a fortnight ago at Exeter and ran well.
“The distance in the Crabbie’s Grand National won’t be a problem. My plan will be to get into a rhythm and if we’re there with two fences to jump we’ll just keep galloping to the line.
“No guesses for which horses I think are the ones to beat. They are Many Clouds, a worthy favourite after his victory last year – and he’s only got 1lb more to carry this time. Silviniaco Conti, the stablemate of Just A Par at Paul Nicholls’ yard, is a great jumper and I think he is one to look out for as well in the race.
“I rode my 52nd winner of the season at the end of March. That gives me one more already than in 2014/15.
“It’s been a very pleasing season and I believe I have progressed at Paul Nicholls’ yard.
“Some people say that it becomes a struggle for a conditional jockey after they ride out their claim.
“I haven’t felt that and I hope to have a few more winners before the season ends last this month.”
Market Rasen Racecourse stages a now traditional Sunday racing fixture the day after the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
There will be an inflatable and a face painter to entertain the youngsters.
Racing starts at 2.15pm, with gates open at 12.15pm.