Pretty much everyone in racing agrees Mall Dini is a hugely exciting prospect, and one of the horses to watch going into the 2018/19 season. However, there is a divide when his future is spoken about, does he go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup or should he head to Aintree for the Grand National?
Throughout his racing career he has been placed with handicaps in mind, but from what we have seen he is certainly better than your average handicapper. He has the ability to stay well that would serve him well in the Gold Cup, and while he may lack a touch of class we've seen horses with a similar profile run very well at Cheltenham. He would be an intriguing proposition, and would certainly add something to the race.
However, the majority of people would love to see this exciting stayer head towards Aintree next year to try his luck in the 2019 Grand National. There are two boxes that need ticking for a horse that is going to contend in the Grand National, they have to be on a winning handicap mark and they have to stay the distance.
After seeing Mall Dini run so well at the Cheltenham Festival in a hugely competitive handicap, we know he has the ability to win a big race off his current mark. That will need protecting throughout the season, careful decisions will need to be made before his race plan can be mapped out.
His staying ability has also been confirmed, we've seen him run just shy of four miles, and coped well. While he hasn’t yet run over four miles or further, few horses do so before the National, but if you are looking at Mall Dini, it's likely he will stay the distance.
If there is one question mark or negative hanging over Mall Dini then it would be his winning record. We haven’t seen him win since March 2016, which would mean a losing streak of over three years if he doesn’t manage to win this coming season before heading into the National.
The Gold Cup does look to be the probable route for Mall Dini, but he's likely to play a supporting role at best. The Grand National though is a completely different race, and one that he looks tailor-made for, so let’s hope we see him at Aintree in April 2019.