Archive for April, 2017

Day 3 of Aintree’s Grand National Meeting is as competitive as ever but my strongest fancy of the three days is running so fingers crossed. My preview is below – B365 B.O.G prices used as a guide.

145 Aintree – Gaskells Handicap Hurdle

A typically competitive 22 runner handicap hurdle to kick off National Day – I will put three up against the field. No Comment ran a decent race in the Martin Pipe Conditional race at Cheltenham and the hope is that the step up to 3m will bring out some improvement. For Good Measure also ran well at Cheltenham in the Pertemps Final – he had a bit of a troubled run that day and he would be my second choice. Second in that same race though was BARNEY DWAN and he is available at 15/2 overnight which seems fair value. The winner Presenting Percy was simply in a different league that day and chasing him home was no mean feat.

225 Aintree – Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle

A decent looking renewal which should answer a few questions. Lough Derg Spirit can go well for the bang in form Henderson stable and he has obviously been kept back for this target. I would have a slight preference for Le Breuil over him today though – he has the look of a fast improving horse and was impressive last time out at Newbury. But today is the day for the selection FINIAN’S OSCAR (NB) to show us what he is made of at a 3/1 overnight price. He is unbeaten, has massive potential and the step back up in trip will be perfect for him. He missed Cheltenham because of a minor setback which may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and his connections were red hot here yesterday.

300 Aintree – Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase

We will never know how much of a race Charbel would have given Altior in the Arkle at Cheltenham after falling two out – my gut feel is that he would have come out second best that day. What I do know is that I wouldn’t want to be taking 8/11 about a last time out faller. Finding one to beat him though is no easy feet and a leap of faith needs to be taken. Forest Bihan never really got going in that race but he was serously impressive prior to that – I think this track could suit him well and he can show some improvement today. He is trading at 9/2 and is fair value but at the same price the selection is POLITOLOGUE. I put him up for the JLT at Cheltenham and he ran a decent enough race. The key to him today though I think is the drop back in trip and today’s track. He is a fantastic jumper, has speed to burn and is too big in the market compared to the favourite.

340 Aintree – Betway Handicap Chase

Another phenomenally competitive handicap and I’ll stick to the method of putting three up against the field. Henri Parry Morgan has been really frustrating this year – his issue is his jumping but one day he will click and go in at a decent price. He’s 11/1 and whether today is the today is anybody’s guess but he has to be on the shortlist. Value At Risk is one in a similar mould – he has bundles of talent and is rarely seen but he too has a big race in him and would the main danger to my selection. EMERGING FORCE gets that vote – he has the look of a horse that has been laid out for this. He loves to be up with the pace and running off a break –  I can see him getting in a good rhythm up front and being hard to catch. He is pretty well found in the market at 11/2, but I still think there is some value in him at that price.

420 Aintree – Ryanair Stayers Hurdle

If you are a value based punter, this has a classic look to it with Yanworth heading the market at 7/4. Personally, I wouldn’t have him at twice the price – I may be proved wrong but if I’m not then this is the race to get your betting boots on. I would also be against Cole Harden at the overnight 4/1 – a lot has been made of how he didn’t like the watered track at Cheltenham but I think his best days may be behind him – he’s had a lot of hard races. That leads us next to Ballyoptic. He has been a bit of a nearly horse this season but is priced accordingly today and 8/1 does appeal on track that he likes. At 9/1 Snow Falcon can also be given a chance – I have a feeling that the track may play to this strong travellers strengths and he can go well. However, if you are only having one bet on the card today then make it SUPASUNDAE (NAP). We saw at Cheltenham in Nichols Canyon that winning staying hurdle races isn’t all about stamina – it can often be more about speed. I think the nature of this track could well play perfectly into the selection’s hands and he can out speed them all over the last two flights. He was seventh in Altior’s 2016 Supreme Novices at Cheltenham over 2m, was a really impressive winner of the 2m5f Coral Cup at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and further improvement can be expected for this step up in trip. He has the ideal jockey in Robbie Power to deliver him perfectly and he is a confident selection.

515 Aintree – Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase

If you thought finding the winner of a 22 runner handicap was hard then how about 40! With the changes to the race over recent years if anything the race has become even more of a lottery with so many more horses now in the handicap proper. If I put up 3 in a 22 runner handicap, I’ll give you my first five in this in order of preference below – there are a variety of reasons but unlike the more detailed analysis in previous races let’s just stick to the selections. Make sure you take an early price as the SPs will only get shorter closer to the off. GOOD LUCK – we’ll all need it!

1ST – BLAKLION (IWAC) – 14/1




5TH – SAINT ARE – 33/1






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Day 2 of Aintree’s Grand National Meeting is intriguing to say the least with a mixture of fiendishly hard handicaps, top quality novice races, a good quality feature and a competitive bumper to finish the day. My preview is below – B365 B.O.G prices used as a guide.

140 Aintree – Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle

A 22 runner handicap hurdle is not the easiest way to start the day but I will give it a go! Thomas Campbell heads the market having run a decent race at The Festival and there is more improvement to come from Nicky Henderson’s 5YO. Ice Cold Soul is lightly raced and can also go well but there is a slight doubt that he is as effective over this 2m4f trip. Dream Berry is lightly raced and he looked a little unlucky when not getting the clearest of runs when finishing 3rd at Kempton last time and rates the danger. The selection though is NORTH HILL HARVEY (IWAC) at an 11/1 overnight price. He was a strong selection for us at Cheltenham in the County Hurdle. In a muddling race, he chased the clear leader a bit early in my view that day and had nothing left for the climb to the finish line. I think the extra 4f here will suit as he can be ridden more patiently for a turn of foot. There won’t be many with a better one in this than him and he is a decent price to find some compensation for that Cheltenham run.

220 Aintree – Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle

A trappy looking race at first glance but I think the front three in the betting have a class edge here. River Wylde fared much better at Cheltenham in the Supreme Novices than Moon Racer did in his assault on the Champion Hurdle. That being said, I am unconvinced by the depth to the Supreme and Moon Racer’s Champion Hurdle run was just too bad to fancy him on the back of that. Missing Cheltenham for a crack at this though the selection at the 11/4 overnight price has to be MOUNT MEWS (NB). He fits into the “could be anything” mould. Today is his big test but he has been seriously impressive so far and I’ll take him to come out on top here.

250 Aintree – Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase

Taking on a 4/7 chance is not normally a good idea and when that one has as much talent as Might Bite it may prove to be foolish. However, for those who witnessed his antics at Cheltenham, I can’t get it out of my head that Aintree may prove an even bigger test for him. This is a speed track and he probably has more than any horse in training, but it also has lots of wide open spaces on the run in for him to have a good look around when he stops concentrating. The obvious beneficiary of this would be the 11/4 chance WHISPER. Davy Russell will have learned a lot from the Cheltenham race and there are not many more canny riders than him to exploit the situation. His charge also has ticks in every box including two wins from two runs at Aintree and will love the ground – expect him to challenge away from Might Bite this time around and hope there isn’t a loose horse to help the favourite along the way. At 4/7 Might Bite’s implied chance of winning is 64% versus Whisper’s 27% and I think that disparity is too big in what I see as a classic two horse race.

325 Aintree – JLT Melling Chase

A hot race with Fox Norton and Sub Lieutenant showing the strongest form at Cheltenham in the Champion Chase and Ryanair respectively. With the emphasis on speed here, I would favour the former despite the step up in trip. Uxizandre was disappointing in the Ryanair but is a danger to all if allowed an easy lead which is highly likely here – he is good value at 8/1 and would rate the danger to my selection GODS OWN at 10/3 in the overnight prices. He has lots going for him today – is ideally suited by course, trip aswell as the prevailing ground and will be well suited to how the race is likely to be run.

405 Aintree – Random Health Topham Handicap Chase

The Topham is always a great spectacle and whets the appetite for the big race tomorrow but is always ultra competitive. With luck in running a necessity it is hard to be confident in selections, but I would focus on the following three to give you a run. Henryville represents great connections in Harry Fry and Leighton Aspell who has few peers over these fences. He ran a solid race in this year’s Grand Sefton and that experience will stand him in good stead. The winner that day, As De Mee, would be second on my list – he still appears well weighted and will appreciate this return to better ground on a course he relishes. The selection though at a tempting 10/1 is GOLD PRESENT. He ran a cracking race at the Festival, is well weighted, a superb jumper and his prominent racing style will suit this course perfectly. If he can get into a good rhythm early he looks a decent bet in a race in which trainer Nicky Henderson has an enviable record.

440 Aintree – Doom Bar Sefton Novice’s Hurdle

Like so many races this week so far, there seems a lopsided look to this race with the front of the market holding sway. Of the three obvious ones West Approach would be the least appealing. He has been kept very busy, his trainer is not in the best of form (6 wins from his last 86 runners) and he is easily passed over. Constantine Bay on the other hand is a big danger – he is a real battler and ran a really solid race in 4th in the Albert Bartlett at The Festival. However, my number one disappointment from Cheltenham was the fall of THE WORLDS END (NAP) in the same race. I put him up at 10/1 that day and am convinced he would have pretty much won barring his fall two out. Bearing in mind Constantine Bay was beaten 15 lengths that day and is 11/4 against the selection’s 5/2 odds today, there can be only one selection. He rates the strongest bet of the day for me.

515 Aintree – Wetherbys Private Bank NHF Race

There will be plenty of guesswork here in the Bumper to finish the day. Claimantakingforgan ran a really solid race in 3rd in the Champion Bumper at The Festival and looks a decent prospect for the future as does Western Ryder who was back in fifth that day. Black Op is unbeaten and boasts a victory over the unpronounceable favourite at Doncaster earlier in the season and he would be my second choice. The tentative vote though at a generous enough looking 11/2 is IF THE CAP FITS. There are few better combinations than Harry Fry and Noel Fehily in these contests and he is a really interesting runner here. His bare form obviously needs improvement but I don’t think his trainer would pitch him in here if he didn’t think he was up to the task.



NB         – MOUNT MEWS


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Day 1 of Aintree’s Grand National Meeting is packed full of quality horses, but from a betting point of view only four of the seven races appeal. They are previewed below – B365 B.O.G Prices are quoted.

145 Aintree – Manifesto Novices’ Chase

An intriguing renewal with Top Notch representing the JLT form and Cloudy Dream the Arkle form from the Cheltenham Festival. Both ran with great credit in those races filling the runner up spots behind Yorkhill and Altior. They head the market but a chance is taken that those exertions may find them out today. Flying Angel also ran in the JLT and was badly hampered so that run can be forgiven – he can go well. However, skipping Cheltenham the selection at a generous looking 5/1 is FRODON (NB). Paul Nicholls’ admirable 5YO has had a busy season with eight runs since September resulting in six victories. He still has the look of an improving horse to me and is the value pick.

250 Aintree – Betway Bowl Chase

Despite an admirable record at Aintree, Cue Card has a vunerable look in this to me at a short looking 6/4. The same can be said for the other 11YO Silviniaco Conti – he at least though is trading at 8/1. The 10YO Empire Of Dirt is second favourite in the betting at 5/2 but he was very disappointing at Cheltenham. This looks a classic race where the prices are just wrong to me. The clear value pick is the 6/1 on offer for the 6YO BRISTOL DE MAI (NAP). He is a seriously talented horse on his day and Cheltenham was never going to be his track. He ran an admirable race though in this year’s Gold Cup but back on a flatter, speed track he will take some beating. There is a doubt in the racing press about his jumping – I don’t share those views and he is a confident selection who won’t go off 6/1.

440 Aintree – Betway Red Rum Handicap Chase

A fiercely competitive renewal with many chances. Dandridge always runs a solid race but has only won four of his twenty six races. Double W’s looked the winner in the 2m4f handicap in which Dandridge was 4th at Cheltenham turning for home and is proving popular to reverse that form. A faller in that race was Foxtail Hill who was sent off the 6/1 favourite. His prominent racing tactics will be well suited to this track and rates the danger. In 3rd that day though was the selection THEINVAL (IWAC) who is a 11/2 shot to prevail today. He is admirably consistent having won or been placed in eight of his seventeen races , winning the only time he has run at this distance , will love the ground and has lots of ticks in the right boxes.

515 Aintree – Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race

A difficult race to get a real handle on with Petticoat Tails the starting point. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of juice in the price though for the 3/1 market leader and she had a hard enough race at Sandown last time out. Cases can be made for Shearling, Polly’s Pursuit and Sassy Diva with the latter appealing most of that trio. Sweetlittlemystery is interesting for Brendan Powell and has done nothing wrong in her two victories but preference is for the 13/2 available for IRISH ROE. She was never going in the Festival Bumper but if that run is forgiven she is of serious interest back against her own sex based on the form of her Cheltenham win in November. She went off as short as 12/1 for that championship race and can bounce back to form in the finale.


NB      – FRODON


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