Apologies for the headline to Milton Ager, who wrote the song in 1927, little knowing it would be a hit for the Beatles in the 1960s and adapted by me today.
Day One of the Grand National meeting starts off with four Grade 1 contests in a row, beginning with the Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Novices’ Chase at 1.45, in which 6 runners go to post.
Favourite at 9-4 is the Paul Nicholls’ trained Cyrname, which has a profile of steady, if unspectacular, improvement during its five chase career, not being extended in beating The Unit by 11 lengths last time out at Kempton. Thing is, though, every horse in the field would probably beat The Unit and we have a feeling that this 6-y-o will come up just short today.
Second in is the somewhat enigmatic Brain Power, which constantly threatens and constantly fails to deliver and represents poor value at 11-4.
We are going to the last chance saloon in selecting Finian’s Oscar as a win bet at 9-2. A winner over hurdles on this card last year, much tinkering has been done to headgear and epiglottis by Team Tizzard, the plan today being the retention of the cheek-pieces and the dispensing with the tongue tie and maybe it’s this afternoon that it all finally comes together over the ‘big ‘uns’. We hope so.
At 2.20, the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle takes place, with the market dominated by the Henderson pair, Apple’s Shakira and We Have A Dream, which are joint favourites at 2-1. The former now wears a hood, after defeat in the Triumph Hurdle, while the latter missed the Festival with a temperature (bless) and we propose taking them both on with our old friend Nube Negra.
Last seen finishing third in the Fred Winter (our each way selection), NN simply tanked through the race and carted Harry to the front too soon, being picked off on the run-in. With a four pound pull for a 31/2 length defeat by Apple’s Shakira back in December, this is the value each way bet at 11-1.
The Betway Bowl Chase at 2.50 and the Betway Aintree Hurdle at 3.25 both look at the mercy of the favourites, which are both too short to recommend a single bet. However, combining Might Bite (10-11) and Supasundae (Evens) in a double pays just shy of 3-1 and this looks the way to go.
The National fences come to the fore at 4.05 when 23 Hunter Chasers line up for the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase over 2m 5f of the famous course.
We go three against the field here, starting with a win bet on the favourite, Grand Vision at 4-1. This flying grey has the ability to jump the opposition into the ground and may well do so under Jamie Codd.
In case of accidents, we also suggest each way bets on Eddies Miracle, the best of the Irish challengers, at 22-1 and what may turn out to be the best of the English, Greensalt at a tasty 100-1. Most bookmakers go 4 places in this and a couple offer 5, so shop around.
At 4.40 the Zut Media Red Rum Handicap Chase takes place with the ‘dead’ 16 runners and the favourite at 4-1 is David Pipe’s French import King’s Socks. Regular readers will remember we put this up in the Brown Advisory Plate at Cheltenham, in which it travelled like a dream for most of the race, not quite getting up the hill, but still (thankfully) making the frame. Dropping in trip today will suit and there is little doubt this is the best handicapped horse in the field, so lump on to win, sit back and enjoy.
As a saver, we also recommend an each way bet on Doitforthevillage, which will run a huge race if it ever gets a smooth passage and is available at 9-1.
Finian’s Oscar 1.45 Aintree win @ 9-2 Ladbrokes
Nube Negra 2.20 Aintree e/w @ 11-1 PaddyPower
Might Bite 2.50 & Supasundae 3.25 Aintree win double @ 3-1
Grand Vision 4.05 Aintree win @ 4-1 William Hill
Eddies Miracle 4.05 Aintree e/w @ 22-1 Coral
Greensalt 4.05 Aintree e/w @ 100-1 SkyBet (5 places)
King’s Socks 4.40 Aintree win @ 4-1 10Bet
Doitforthevillage 4.40 Aintree e/w @ 9-1 Betbright (4 places) / 8-1 SkyBet (5 places)