Horses To Follow » Soll


The Jo Hughes-trained Soll ran a cracker in the Grand National on Saturday on his first try over the National fences. He was quickly in the front rank, from where he jumped the big fences well, his only real mistakes coming at the fifth and at The Chair when he wasn’t helped by the attentions of a loose horse. Although the drop up the inside is nowhere near as steep as it used to be at Becher’s Brook, he still took it really well right down the inside on both occasions.

That mistake at The Chair knocked him back a fair bit. Having come to it in a share of third place, he was only in ninth over the next fence, the water jump, and he probably just had to use up too much energy to get back into a prominent position on the run over the next five fences towards Becher’s second time. He had improved right through into a virtual share of the lead over Valentine’s, but he was a little untidy over that fence, and the front few just got away from him from there. He was still just about in there pitching crossing the Melling Road, and although it looked like he might weaken right out of it coming to the second last, he stuck on well to finish seventh.

Soll handled the good ground well but, even though he is by good-ground influence Presenting, he would have been better suited by slightly easier ground (both of his previous wins over fences had come on heavy ground). On easier ground, the front few probably wouldn’t have got away from him like they did, and his near limitless stamina would have come more into play.

Also, he is only eight, he should be better equipped for the race next year as a nine-year-old, and he had had just six previous runs over fences before this. He had won at Sandown since the weights had come out so he is now up to a mark of 139, he should have no trouble getting into next year’s race and so he can be trained specifically for it, which is apparently what they are going to do. It may pay to tread a little warily if he runs again this season after this hard race, but he should be the first horse on your 2014 Grand National list.

6th April 2013