I mentioned The Last Samuri as a potential Welsh National horse before Christmas. This is what i wrote in November :Great write ups from everyone as usual I'm not as knowledgeable as you guys so could you give me your thoughts on the last samurai and wonderful charm which I've picked in works sweepstake..all the best with all your bets over the meeting..cheers
" The Last Samuri, who will win a big handicap. Nice profile, well bred, top trainer with a good pool of jockeys to choose from "
He's since won two decent handicaps and is now officially rated twelve pounds higher than the mark he runs off in the National. He jumps well and his jockey is strong in the saddle, although yet to win a chase at Aintree. My one concern would be that he's done his winning already this season. A few years ago, Cloudy Lane won three races prior to Aintree ( including the Grimthorpe Chase like The Last Samuri ) and finished 6th in the big race as a 7-1 favourite.
It's extremely difficult to get horses in the winning enclosure more than three or four times in succession, particulaly in big, competitive handicaps. Not just because they are forced higher and higher up the ratings but from also from a training standpoint.
He should be thereabouts on the second circuit, anyway.
Wonderful Charm has won one Newton Abbot chase in two and a half years yet is one of the highest rated horses in the race - he appears to be one of those horses who is too highly rated for a handicap but not quite good enough to win at Graded level.
There's one particularly interesting piece of form from last year when he finished second in the 3 mile handicap here at the Grand National meeting, where he might have won but for a mistake a few fences out. He wasn't stopping at the line and he is related to some horses who stayed 4 miles - Garde Champetre won the Cross Country races a few times and Royal Auclair was second in the Grand National won by Hedgehunter. Don Poli and Irish National winner Butler's Cabin are two others.
I'd be surprised if he won it but wouldn't be surprised to see him sneek into the top 6.
Good luck !