Can lightning really strike twice with another Classic Chase winner going onto Aintree glory? Well, the connections of Kimberlite Candy really hope so after the gelding came up trumps in Warwick’s feature race last Saturday.
In a season reminiscent to that of One For Arthur in 2016/17, the eight-year-old has now performed well in two recognised Grand Nationals this season. They are the Becher Chase where he finished second, and now the Classic Chase which he won by an impressive ten lengths.
In fact Kimberlite Candy has actually surpassed the National build-up efforts of One For Arthur in 2016/17 as he could only finish fifth in the Becher, whereas Kimberlite Candy finished the runner-up in it. Interestingly the Classic Chase at Warwick was also run by Auroras Encore in the season he won the Grand National (2013) though he only managed fifth place.
Rated 140 before his latest success, the handicapper has revised Kimberlite Candy’s mark to 150 which last year equated to a weight of 10st 10lbs. Given that Tiger Roll is almost a certainty to line up again, the weights this year are pretty much going to mirror last year’s.
Trainer Tom Lacey was extremely relieved that his runner had strung two good performances together, saying: “He’d never backed up a good run so that obviously was a concern.
“He’s a year older and everything he does in his work, he’s taking it better. Before, he was always behind the bridle.
“He’s the finished article now, I think.”
Kimberlite Candy Grand National Chances
Owned by J.P McManus, Kimberlite Candy’s participation in the Aintree showpiece will be at the mercy of the weather according to Lacey.
“Richie (McLernon) got him into a lovely rhythm and said he didn’t jump as well as he can, but whether that was the ground or coming back to these fences from Aintree’s National ones and having a little look at the take-off boards I don’t know.
— Tom Lacey (@tflacey) January 12, 2020
“We’ll see about Aintree and the National as he’s ground-dependent; it’d have to be soft. He’ll go up after that, but it’s an option.”
Given the fact Kimberlite Candy is at his best when fresh, it’s highly unlikely that we will see him at the Cheltenham Festival but will probably go straight to Merseyside without another run.
Having traded at 50/1 before his Warwick triumph, Kimberlite Candy is now a general 20/1 chance with most bookmakers. He would most certainly be ridden by jockey Richie McLernon, who just missed out on the win when beaten by a nose by Neptune Collonges on Sunnyhillboy in 2012.
Other horses with Aintree aspirations that contested the Classic Chase included The Conditional, who after a promising run in the Ladbrokes Trophy, could only manage fourth place.
“Definitely made for the Grand National” were David Bridgwater’s previous words but he may have to have a rethink on that score. Although it’s probably too early to write off his National chances just yet.