The Grand National is getting closer and every man and his dog (or horse) will be having a bet come this Saturday. However, there is lots of extremely competitive racing preceding it so let’s take a look at day 1.
As with Cheltenham, this is an incredibly tough event to pick so gamble wisely and take advantage of any offers the bookies are throwing out there such as Skybet’s money back if the favourite wins in the first race.
1.40 Manifesto Chase
The opener of the festival features 4 regularly placed horses. Sizing John is the current bookies favourite but has never gone this distance. Arzal is a good horse and should be in the frame but I think it’s between Garde La Victoire and L’AMI SERGE both currently at 7/2. Poor when falling, Garde La Victoire may be hampered by this and L’ami Serge finished very strongly on a shorter trip.
2.15 Anniversary Hurdle
Followers of my Cheltenham blog will be keen to get on Ivanovich Gorbatov after winning us a lot of money last month however the ground is not to suit and he has proven to only run well when the ground is in his favour. He had Apple’s Jade beaten easy last time out so I think this one is between FOOTPAD at 6/1 and Sceau Royal but I really can’t see Daryl Jacob opening with a double so we’re reliant on Ruby Walsh retaining his marvellous Cheltenham form in what is an extremely tough field.
2.50 Aintree Bowl
There’s a lot of good horses coming off the back of some very bad runs entered into the bowl this year. CUE CARD at 5/4 fell when looking well positioned last time out and looks the better of Djakadam and Don Poli. If you look outside of the big three from the Gold Cup, Saphir Du Rheu looks phenomenal value at 16/1.
3.25 Aintree Hurdle
ANNIE POWER looked phenomenal at Cheltenham and is the horse to beat however has been priced out of the market by large bets prior to the race and is now 1/2. My Tent Or Yours looked back to his best at Cheltenham but goes further than ever in this race but does offer value at 9/1.
4.05 Foxhunters Chase
This field is full of inconsistent horses bar ON THE FRINGE at 7/4. Should anything happen to the Cheltenham winner, this really could be anyone’s race.
4.40 Red Rum Handicap
Under normal circumstances, Dandridge looks the pick for this race but is carrying 8 pounds more than MINELLA PRESENT at 13/2 who we haven’t seen for some months but tends to provide his best racing off the back of a rest.