Getting to grips with how horses are performing early in the season when their main aim is the Grand National in April is always tough for punters. I Just Know is a horse that is hoping to be at the Aintree showcase in April. So far it appears that the horse hasn’t been performing as planned.

The two races he has ran in so far are a million miles away from what the Aintree Grand National will be like. That said, it would have been nice to see more from him, even in these early stages.

There is always a doubt over early season form. That is because there is a good chance that these horses are not fit enough to do themselves justice. The other thing to think about is that these horses will not run in their ideal races. Often that is because of the race distance or the race type. Clearly that is applicable to the races I Just Know has been running in so far.

Trained by Sue Smith, the first time we saw I Just Know this season was his run in a novice hurdle race at Wetherby. That was over a distance of 2m3f. Facing small obstacles and a distance that is nearly half that of the Grand National is a big change. He simply didn’t have the pace to go with his main rival Kapgarry. He went on to win the race by two and a half lengths. This wasn’t a race that would ever suit I Just Know. However, he would have had roughly 20lbs in hand against his main rival, so he still ran below par here.

The second time we saw I Just Know was in a race that suited him much better. Unfortunately it was still a disappointing ending. The race was at Kelso, which is a very different track to Aintree. It is also a completely different test for horses. But other than that the race was exactly what the horse needed. With a distance of 3m2f, the race was a good test of stamina. Kelso is also known as a decent jumping test so we got to see him going over a tough set of bigger obstacles.

However, the race didn’t go to plan at all. I Just Know set a good pace and looked to be kicking again when coming to two out. Unfortunately though he fell at that fence and came down, ending his chances of winning the race. When you are looking at a horse for Aintree over the national fences, you don’t want to be looking at horses who have fallen. He fell in this year’s National too! Over the next few races the most important thing to look out for is a good round of jumping from him, regardless of his finishing position.

There is a long way to go on the path to Aintree, but it hasn’t been the start that was expected from I Just Know.