Past Winners » Theinval


It is a shame that Alaivan is out of this. After he narrowly missed the cut for the Pertemps Final I was looking forward to backing him here. We will get him again though, perhaps at Aintree.

It is still a good each-way race and I am backing Theinval and 9/1 or 8/1. The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding has run four times in Britain, twice at Kempton, and he has run really well on both occasions.

He looked to be a fair way ahead of his handicap mark in the first of them when he looked the likely winner from the point at which they turned out of the back straight, and he came away to beat his stable companion Lough Kent by six lengths.

He was disappointing at Sandown quickly after that having avoided a penalty, but that run probably came too soon for him after his Kempton exertions, and he may not have really appreciated the very heavy ground.

He bounced back from that run back at Kempton over Christmas to prove that he was still a well-handicapped horse. He was strong in the market but was held up in rear in a steadily-run race. He travelled very strongly, possibly a little too strongly early on, and he was slick over his hurdles, but he was constantly restrained on landing.

Still just 10th of the 11 runners over the fourth last flight, he was still full of running at the end of the back straight but was still only seventh as the eventual winner Alternatif, who had been in the prime position throughout, started to press on.

Still five lengths down jumping the second last, he was shaken up between the final two flights, and he had closed the gap to two lengths at the last. He continued to close all the way to the line but he failed by a neck. The way the front pair pulled 12 lengths clear of the rest off such a steady gallop marks them down as well ahead of their marks, but Theinval particularly so having come from so far back.

He has been raised 9lb for that, but he could still be a little way ahead of his mark. He is only a five-year-old and he has run just four times in Britain. A stronger pace would suit him much better today. They can’t go any slower than they did on his most recent run.

Mydor is interesting off the same mark in Britain as his Irish mark, but he is fashionable, a Tony Martin-trained horse, he has been well found in the market, and the drop to two miles and five furlongs on decent ground might not be ideal.