The Young Master can realise a long-term plan for the Waley-Cohen family and trainer Neil Mulholland by winning the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.
When Robert Waley-Cohen bought into the eight-year-old, the Aintree spectacular was already in his mind and that of his son, Sam, who will once again be in the plate to tackle the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Mulholland persuaded the team to step back from a National challenge last year and the decision paid dividends as The Young Master won the Bet365 Gold Cup, but things have not gone quite so smoothly this term.
Admittedly, he made an inauspicious start over the National obstacles when falling two fences from home in the Becher Chase on his reappearance, while he cut little ice when put back over hurdles at Cheltenham in the Cleeve.
However, The Young Master looked much more like his old self when claiming a staying-on sixth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
He got caught for a bit of pace, but kept on all the way up the hill to suggest that with a canny ride, this four-and-quarter-mile trip should be well within his compass.
The Young Master will certainly get every assistance from the saddle as Waley-Cohen jnr is a very sharp operator when it comes to this sort of test and he should be in there battling when they get to the famous elbow. He has been only lightly raced this season and Mulholland will surely have him primed to the second for his big day.
Away from the National, Charbel can prove the star of the undercard by landing the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase.
He was leading the Arkle when crashing out at the second-last fence and while it might be stretching it to suggest he would have beaten Altior, he was giving him a real race until it came to a premature end.
TURF TALK TIPS
AINTREE: 1.45 Whataknight, 2.25 Le Breuil (next best), 3.00 Charbel (treble), 3.40 Value At Risk, 4.20 Aux Ptits Soins, 5.15 1 THE YOUNG MASTER (NAP), 2 Vieux Lion Rouge, 3 Just A Par, 4 Cause Of Causes, 6.15 Intense Tango.
CHEPSTOW: 2.15 Top Ville Ben, 2.50 Meldrum Lad, 3.30 Steel Native, 4.05 Swincombe Scorchio, 4.40 Focaccia, 5.35 Renard, 6.05 Bomber’s Moon.
LINGFIELD: 2.00 Ixelles Diamond, 2.35 Agnethe, 3.10 Ruby Wednesday, 3.45 Mr Scaramanga, 4.15 Suqoor, 4.50 Av A word, 5.40 Intellect.
NEWCASTLE: 2.05 Front At The Last, 2.40 Golden Investment, 3.20 King Julien, 3.55 Holly Bush Henry, 4.30 Raise A Spark, 5.00 Roxyfet, 5.45 Starplex.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 6.20 Widnes, 6.50 Historic Event, 7.20 Faithful Promise, 7.50 Luv U Whatever, 8.20 Thou Swell, 8.50 Go George Go, 9.20 Compton Park.