AINTREE - DAY 1 - Thursday April 3rd
2:00 – Injured Jockeys Fund Anniversary 4-y.o Juvenile Hurdle
This could prove very competitive and we have the third and fourth from the Triumph renewing rivalry. Calipto was unlucky at Cheltenham as his saddle slipped at a crucial stage and connections will be confident of victory. Preference is for GUITAR PETE however who has gained plenty of experience over hurdles and whose front running tactics should be well suited to the track. He jumps very well and I can see him going off at a serious pace and getting most of his rivals in trouble. On his penultimate start he beat Tiger Roll cozily and another Grade One win could be coming his way.
2:30 – Betfred Bowl
DYNASTE was a brilliant winner at this meeting last year and comes into the race on a real high after impressing when winning the RyanAir at Cheltenham. He is a real class act, winning 5 of his 8 starts over fences and the only time he has finished out of the first two over fences was when he was injured in the King George. The ground and track should suit and this trip is ideal for him at Aintree. Silviniaco Conti rates a big danger, but he had a hard race last time out and ran slightly below form in this race last year, so preference is for Dynaste.
3:05 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle
THE NEW ONE ran a blinder in this last year as a novice and a year on he should prove very hard to beat. He looked very good leading up to Christmas, easily beating Rock On Ruby and Zarkandar and was a shade unlucky against My Tent Or Yours at Kempton who went on to run so well at Cheltenham. He was stopped in his tracks in the Champion Hurdle and then finished strongly, so he deserves compensation and having already shown a liking for Aintree (won in 2012 and second in 2013), he should prove hard to beat over a trip that is probably his optimum.
3:40 Crabbies Foxhunters’ Chase
MOSSEY JOE is unbeaten in points and was an impressive winner last time out. He has also looked classy over fences, winning his last four starts and he was superb when winning at Stratford last June. He jumps well and goes strongly from the front and if he can get into a good rhythm, he should prove hard to catch and I can see him making all for victory.
4:15 – Red Rum Handicap Chase
Ever since he finished second to Valdez at Doncaster in January I have believed that ARNAUD is the perfect horse for this race and I am delighted that connections decided to miss Cheltenham and go straight here. He is a good front runner and can put in some spectacular leaps when required and on ground that will suit, could be hard to catch. A rating of 148 is fair, but it is good to see that he has a seven pound claimer on board to get his weight down. He looks to be one of the few improvers in the field and he should run a big race. Claret Cloak ran a good race at Cheltenham and is the one I fear most, but he had a hard race that day and that may cost him against Arnaud.
4:50 – Manifesto Novices’ Chase
OSCAR WHISKY has had some of his best wins at Aintree and this trip is ideal. It was a shame that he fell at the first at Cheltenham, but his form was actually boosted during the race as he had beaten the winner at level weights earlier in the season. If none the worse for that fall (he won his next start after falling over hurdles), he should run a big race on ground that should be ideal.