Night In Milan shows the benefit of course experience at DoncasterPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Night In Milan comes alive on Town Moor
Report: Doncaster, Saturday
William Hill Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap) 3m2f, 5yo+
YOU can't beat course form and Night In Milan showed his love for Doncaster once again as he landed the William Hill Grimthorpe Handicap Chase, ridden by James Reveley for his father and trainer Keith.
The winner was up there in the van all the way and kicked clear in the straight to defeat the chasing pair Storm Survivor and Renard. Fellow pacemaker Golden Call finished fourth.
The 14-1 winner is entered in the Crabbie's Grand National and Paddy Power make him a 50-1 shot (from 66-1) for the world's greatest steeplechase.
Another horse bound for Aintree, Monbeg Dude, recovered from a bad mistake early on to finish a running-on fifth.
Night In Milan, who had a first and a second from four starts at Doncaster prior to this, put his course experience to good use here, jumping with aplomb out in front as he and Golden Call set a strong pace. While the chasing pack got to Golden Call, they couldn't catch the Reveley runner, who put the race to bed with further bold leaps over the last two fences.
Given how he jumps, the eight-year-old would be an interesting contender for Aintree, although as he is currently number 72 on the list it will be touch and go whether he makes the final 40.
"He's in the National, but he's only got 9st 13lb and would need a lot to come out to get in," said Keith Reveley.
"His owner Richard Collins is keen for him to run over the fences and so we'll also enter him in the Topham. I'd quite like to see him run in the Topham this year and the National next year. He's a brilliant jumper, but he must have this ground."
A couple of horses put a dampener on their Aintree hopes here. Top-weight Wayward Prince never went a yard, while Godsmejudge's jumping was indifferent and he was struggling some way out. There's hope for Monbeg Dude, though, who didn't jump too badly after his early error. Given a typically patient ride by Paul Carberry after that, he was too far behind turning in, but ran on well to nearly take fourth spot.
"I am delighted with him," said the nine-year-old's trainer Michael Scudamore. "He hadn't run for a long time and we needed to get a race into him and we came here knowing this ground would be a bit too quick and the course would be a bit too sharp. But the way he kept on galloping, I think we've got to walk away happy.
"We've got a month now to freshen him up and prepare him for the Grand National. In terms of where we want to be with him, it's a big box ticked."