If there is a trainer who knows a thing or two about the North Yorkshire Grand National it is Sue Smith. She has won the race for the past four years, including the 2019 renewal. Yesterday she won it with Sharp Response. This is clearly a race she targets with a nice horse. Plus those from past seasons have turned out to be decent staying chasers.
Last year’s winner I Just Know ran in the Grand National of 2018 and fell after being sent off as short as 14/1 to win the race. The horse is being aimed at the race again this season, and after seeing Sharp Response stay well and win the 2019 renewal of the North Yorkshire Grand National, perhaps he could be joining I Just Know in the big one at Aintree in April. Mansionbet have installed I Just Know at odds of 33/1 while they have kept Tiger Roll as the ante-post race favourite at 20/1.
Going into the race there was a doubt as to whether Sharp Response would stay the trip. Although all previous form showed that he would more than likely handle it. Last time out he ran over 2m7f and after being outpaced he stayed on very strongly to come through and finish 4th. The 3m5f trip of the North Yorkshire Grand National was clearly more up his street. He appeared to love every yard of it, which is encouraging for his future prospects.
He settled nicely in the race for the first two circuits. Jockey Danny Cook took the running up on Sharp Response with just over a circuit to go. Danny is an excellent judge of pace and a brilliant horseman from the front. Those who backed the horse knew that this was exactly the right move. Jumping and staying looks to be the name of the game now for Sharp Response as those around him failed to keep up and dropped away.
Five rivals quickly turned into two as they headed down the back straight. The partnership of Danny Cook and Sharp Response really laid down the gauntlet and as they turned for home. And no one could keep up with the pair. That allowed them to get over the final two fences safely and come away from the field to record a nice success.
Future For Sharp Response
Where this horse goes next is unknown. But he will have to step up in class after this win. He ran in a Grade Three and a Listed handicap at the back end of 2018. However, those two races didn’t offer the same staying test. His track record shows that he does so much better when running at over 3m. In fact, other than a couple of races early in his career, he has never won at less than 3m.
After seeing I Just Know win this race off a similar handicap mark last season and developing into a Grand National contender, there is no reason to think that Sharp Response cannot do the same this year. He didn’t put a foot wrong and got the trip well. This bodes very well for his future and could be what books him a Grand National place in April.
Bet365 have installed him at 50/1 for the Grand National on April 6th 2019.