Day 1 of the Grand National meeting today and we go back to 1971 and The Doors for our headline, which relates to the Grade 1 Betway Aintree Hurdle which takes place at 3.30.
This race features the return to action of the 2nd and 3rd in the Champion Hurdle, namely Epatante and Zanahiyr, both of which step up to two and a half miles for the first time.
Not surprisingly these two dominate the market at around 2-1 each, but we’ll take ’em both on with the distance specialist Brewin’upastorm.
Olly Murphy‘s 9-y-o could well be on a five-timer this afternoon after two wins, one fall and an unlucky second and bypassed Cheltenham to be saved for this race. Described as ‘our Gold Cup’ by the trainer, Brewin’ looks a value bet at 6-1.
Coverage starts with the Jewson Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle at 2.20 which has Pied Piper as the 11-10 favourite after an excellent third in the Triumph Hurdle behind the mighty Vauban. This is undoubtedly the best piece of form on offer and a win bet is recommended.
If there is to be a bit of a turn up, it could be in the shape of Petit Tonerre, which comes here unbeaten in three, two in France and one over here, a handicap, off a mark of 135. That run puts it in the frame, so we suggest an each way bet at 10-1.
The Betway Bowl Chase at 2.55 sees the reappearance of Protectorat, following its gallant third in the Gold Cup. Unbeaten on this track (2-2) and a winner on this card last year, the 11-4 offered looks generous and should be taken.
Danger could be Conflated, winner of the Irish Gold Cup and booked for at least second in the Ryanair before crashing out at the second last. Prudence suggests a cover bet on this one at 9-2.
Hunter Chasers take centre stage at 4.05, when 23 of them line up for the Randox Foxhunters, with the market headed by Jett at a skinny 5-2.
We’ll take it on with a win bet on Latenightpass at 7-2 and an each way tickle on Porlock Bay at 7-1.
Entertainment concludes with the Red Rum Handicap Chase at 4.40 and 11-2 the field gives a clue to how competitive this race is.
Our two against the field are Before Midnight (15-2) and The Last Day (12-1), with the latter slightly prone to falling at the last, so, if there or there abouts at the final obstacle, a dive behind the sofa is recommended.
More musings tomorrow.
Brewin’upastorm 3.30 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (3 places Ladbrokes/Coral)
Pied Piper 2.20 Aintree 4pts win @ 11-10
Petit Tonerre 2.20 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Protectorat 2.55 Aintree 2pts win @ 11-4
Conflated 2.55 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 9-2
Latenightpass 4.05 Aintree 2pts win @ 7-2
Porlock Bay 4.05 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (6 places bet365/Skybet)
Before Midnight 4.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (5 places)
The Last Day 4.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)