Hi guys, the 3-day Randox Grand National Aintree Festival is finally here and it looks like we are in for some great racing. Today looks like it could be a tough day for each way punters with three races having just 5 or 6 runners and two races having 20 & 27 runners but I’ve did my best so hopefully we will get a result or two and finish the day in profit.
1.45pm Aintree – 2m4f (2m3f200y) (Mildmay) Racehorse Lotto Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
1 POINT WIN BET ADVISED AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 6/4
The ground looks to have come up perfect for Banbridge with the latest Going reading taken by Turf Trax at 7.10am this morning confirming it is officially Good to Soft on the Chase course with a Going Stick reading of 5.8. He had entries in both this and the 2-mile race on Saturday with connections eventually opting for this with concerns about the ground softening further between now and then with more rain forecast. Banbridge shaped 68-days ago behind subsequent Cheltenham winner El Fabiolo over 2m1f like a return this 2m4f trip would suit and I’m very hopeful he can repeat Gowran win over the trip last October where he encountered very similar ground to today.
Stage Star (15/8) looks a major threat having taken his record over fences to 4 wins from 5 starts when winning the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham but the two at the head of the market that day, Mighty Potter (4/6 Fav) & Appreciate It (3/1), didn’t give their running and he had a very easy time of it in front so the form may just be a little suspect. Plus, that race was only 30 days ago while Banbridge didn’t run at Cheltenham so has been kept fresh for this.
It looks between the two of them on paper with doubts that Saint Roi (7/2) will stay but those of you looking to try something at a bigger prices might want to try Visionarian (12/1) who doesn’t look good enough on paper to win it but has a particularly good record at this time of year.
2.20pm Aintree – 2m1f (2m209y) Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo)
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT THE 16/1 AVAILABLE WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS
Zenta is a worthy Favourite at 11/8 after finishing a close-up 3rd of 15 to Lossiemouth in the Triumph at Cheltenham where I thought she looked a much improved horse and well ahead on ratings here she could easily win it. However, the race came only 27 days ago, she could be seen pulling hard throughout the race, and she may not repeat the form here so representing little in the way of value we’ll be taking her on with something at an each way price.
I think Sarsons Risk might be worth an each way interest at 16/1. Rated 87 by the Racing Post on the Flat he made a great start to his hurdling career when going in by 5 lengths at Doncaster back in February. He fell when leading since but has been given considerate handling in a Flat race at Kempton 15 days ago in preparation for this. He has the potential to do much better yet.
2.55pm Aintree – 3m1f (3m210y) (Mildmay) Alder Hey Aintree Bowl Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
1 POINT WIN BET AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 11/4
This is a competitive 5-runner race where they all ran at the Cheltenham Festival 4 weeks ago. I thought, of the five, Shiskin had the hardest race hanging left throughout before making a bad mistake at the third last. He is also stepping significantly up in trip to 3m1f for the first time and, while he will likely stay the trip, he still has his stamina to prove.
I can’t have A Plus Tard at 11/4 having pulled up the last twice while Conflated can go well but has a bit to find on ratings. Ga Law is the outsider of the field at 22/1 because he is the lowest of these on ratings so he will need to improve to win it but as a progressive 7 year old it isn’t impossible so he might be worth a small cover bet at the price.
Ahoy Senor was still going well and leading the Gold Cup at Cheltenham when he fell at the 17th flight. It’s hard to know where he would have finished as they were too far out when he departed but his record at Aintree reads 113 and he looks the most likely to give his running of the three at the head of the market.
3.30pm Aintree – 2m4f William Hill Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
1 POINT WIN BET AT 1/10
I’m not going to waste time trying to take on Constitution Hill who us one of the very best horses I have seen in years and totally different class to these so I’m just going to sit back and watch this for the spectacle it should be.
16.05pm Aintree – 2m5f (2m5f19y) (Grand National) Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) (6yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 5/1 WITH SKYBET PAYING 6 PLACES
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 18/1 WITH THESE FIRMS PAYING 5 PLACES
In this race you should take note that most firms are paying 5 places but Skybet are offering 6 places and Betway are paying the first 7 home in the race.
These Hunters’ Chases are races where course form tends to be important so it’s hard not to like the chances of Latenightpass who won this last year, finished 2nd in 2021, and he has had three prep runs in point-to-points so will be approaching peak fitness. There is no reason why he can’t go close again.
At bigger prices, I thought I would chance Bennys King who is a former high class chaser that has made a good transition to Hunters’ Chases winning two from three this season and unseating in the other. He too has had a good prep for this and I like that John Dawson, who is having a good season (3-10, 30% SR), takes over in the saddle for the first time.
16.40pm Aintree – 2m (1m7f176y) (Mildmay) Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 10/1 WITH THESE FIRMS PAYING 4 PLACES
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 16/1 WITH THESE FIRMS PAYING 4 PLACES
This is a wide open looking 13-runner handicap where I have gone for a couple of each way picks at double figure odds.
Hatcher has steadily dropped 20lbs down the weights since October 2021 so could be well-handicapped especially with Tristan Durrell taking a further 5lb off. He hinted at a return to form with a 3rd place finish at Ascot 11 days ago, the Dan Skelton yard are in decent form (Last 14 days: 7-41, 17%), he is having his second run since a wind operation, and the ground looks perfect for him.
Before Midnight has dropped 8lb in the weights since finishing 6th of 16 in this race last year. He will be approaching peak fitness on his fifth start of the season, the ground has come good for him too, and I like the first-time booking of Charlie Deutsch.
17.15pm Aintree – 2m1f (2m209y) Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4-6yo)
JOLIE COEUR ALLEN
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 4/1 WITH THESE FIRMS PAYING 4 PLACES
This 20-runner bumper is extremely difficult to predict being full of young horses most of who have only had 1 or 2 runs and are open to no end of improvement so it is very “guessy” and should be approached with caution from a betting perspective. The advice is small stakes or keep your powder dry for better betting opportunities later in the week.
I have opted for Jolie Coeur Allen for the in form Willie Mullins yard (Last 14 days: 18-63, 29%). We all know Willie knows what he is doing and he may well have another excellent French import on his hands here. Jolie Coeur Allen looked unlucky not to win her sole start in France having to wait for a gap before running on strongly but achieved a comparatively high Racing Post Rating of 114 for that and could easily have more to offer.
Good luck with all your bets today!
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