On bare form it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that David Pipe’s 2008 John Smith’s Grand National winner Comply Or Die is not the force of old and has a mountain to climb if he is to come to close to repeating his Aintree heroics of three years ago, writes Elliot Slater.
Bare form however can often be somewhat misleading as for most of this season, for example, the 12-year-old has been slogging around in races run on heavy ground, a surface that is far from ideal for him. The last time he was fit and encountered a decent surface was in last year’s Grand National where the David Johnson-owned gelding again showed his love of the unique Aintree challenge and ran a fine race to be bang there with the leaders until after three out, after which he gradually weakened. It should be remembered that that race came only a few weeks after having run in a tough event at the Cheltenham Festival, and this year Comply Or Die will go to the race as a relatively fresh horse.
It should also be noted that the Old Vic gelding has been dropped 9lbs in the weight and is running off a 10lb lower mark than when runner-up in the 2009 Grand National to shock scorer Mon Mome. Like so many Grand National specialists over the years Comply Or Die seems to come alive at Aintree when the spring sun is shining and there are decent underfoot conditions and those looking to place horse racing bets should remember this.
Despite the ground being all against him he ran well until weakening at the final fence in heavy ground in Warwick’s Grade 3 Classic Chase in January, and I believe that Comply Or Die is far from a back-number. With Timmy Murphy almost certain to be back on board his old pal, they might just sneak into a place again, and at current odds of 50/1 that should be something worth cheering.