Day 1 of the Aintree Grand National meeting and the middle five races are being televised for our entertainment.
Not the most valuable race, but the only one over the ‘National’ fences is the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase at 4.05, when a field of 27 will compete for a first prize of £26,685.
Short priced favourite at 100-30 is the front-running Road To Rome, last seen making a gallant effort to stay three & a quarter miles round Cheltenham, eventually finishing a gallant fourth. No doubt this 9-y-o will attempt the same tactics and may take the beating, but with most firms offering 5 places, we will put up two to take it on.
Kruzhlinin has been a revelation since joining the Gordon Elliott yard, winning all seven Points and finishing a close third in a Hunter Chase, so we’ll start with an each way bet on this one at 10-1.
Our second dart is thrown at the relatively young (8) Sir Jack Yeats, which is available at a tasty 16-1. Richard Spencer‘s inmate finished 9th in this race last year and warmed up for today by winning a Hunter Chase at Fakenham by an easy 30 lengths. Call that an exercise gallop if you will, but SJY comes here at the top of its form and could spring a surprise.
Televised action starts at 2.20 with the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle, which features a clash between the winners of the two big Juvenile races at the Cheltenham Festival.
Band Of Outlaws, winner of the ‘Fred Winter‘, is preferred in the market at 7-4 with the Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills available at 9-4. Of these two we are firmly on the side of Joseph O’Brien‘s charge, which cleared off into the distance last time off a rating of 139 and is still firmly on the up.
If there is to be a surprise in this race it might be supplied by Christopher Wood, the unbeaten representative of Paul Nicholls and we recommend an each way play on this one at 12-1.
The Betway Bowl Chase at 2.50 is almost a re-run of the Gold Cup, the difference being that this time Clan Des Obeaux will win it. Fifth at Cheltenham, CDO should be a stone better at this track and is a confident win bet at 11-4.
The Betway Aintree Hurdle at 3.25 gives Buveur D’Air a chance to atone for the fall in the Champion Hurdle and it’s hard to see what stands in the way. Drifting towards even money as we write, we’ll take a lash at it at 10-11.
The Close Brothers Red Rum handicap Chase, a burn-up over 2 miles, at 4.40 completes the telly action and has a field of 18. At 5-1 the fav, this is the most open betting race of the day and we like the look of Lady Buttons (8-1) and Moon Over Germany (12-1) as our two each way punts.
Back tomorrow with more musings.
Kruzhlinin 4.05 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places)
Sir Jack Yeats 4.05 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (5 places)
Band Of Outlaws 2.20 Aintree 4pts win @ 7-4
Christopher Wood 2.20 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 12-1
Clan Des Obeaux 2.50 Aintree 2pts win @ 11-4
Buveur D’Air 3.25 Aintree 8pts win @ 10-11
Lady Buttons 4.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Moon Over Germany 4.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)