Good morning all,
By the time you all read this I'll be some way up the M6 on the way to Aintree for three busy days working in the ring.
I always enjoy the Thursday best as the racing's top quality and it's not as rammed as the other two days are.
I've given a quick opinion on each race and my bets at the end – good luck if you're following me in!
1.45 – Celebration Novices Chase (2m4f)
Tough little race to start with. As ever, I'll be laying Finians Oscar for a place, despite a better effort in the JLT. To his credit he did jump better there, and this small field might help in that regard, but he was still well beaten at the finish. If he gets placed so be it, but I've had a bit out of him this season regardless.
Cyrname looks the likeliest winner, having got the form in the bank, but he will find Rene's Girl for company up front, which stops him from being a bet. Brain Power will probably get the trip but he too needs his jumping to hold up. Bottom line, not a race to get mad about, but a small place lay of Finians Oscar at around 5-4 for me.
2.15 – Juvenile Hurdle (2m)
A chance for my Triumph Hurdle fancy We Have A Dream to show how good I think he is. He's favourite for this after the defeat of Apple's Shakira at Cheltenham, which rather exposed her weaknesses. I'm not convinced this track will help her and she's probably vulnerable again.
2-1 is probably fair for We Have A Dream, given that even though connections are adamant he wants better ground he is proven on soft/heavy after that win in the Finale at Chepstow in December.
Nube Negra travelled like the best horse in the Fred Winter but cut out very quickly – having looked the winner turning in he was cooked by the last. This flatter track may well help him and if delivered very late, could be the fly in the ointment.
2.50 – Betway Bowl
Might Bite is already on the drift for this, and I'm not that surprised. I said this morning I'd be taking him on, not because he isn't the best horse in the race – he is, and on good ground, may well have won the Gold Cup – but the speed figure he achieved in the GC was huge, and the way he went about getting that figure – by slugging it out from a long way out – must surely have taken something out of him. He did run a little below his RSA form when winning here last year, and if there's ever a time to try and take him on, it's probably today. Rather than try and find the winner, I shall win and place lay him.
The opposition are no mugs – both Bristol De Mai and Definitly Red will be happier on this flatter track and the ground is fine for both. Double Shuffle has form that ties in well with Might Bite, and there's jokers in the pack with Clan Des Obeaux and Tea For Two, although the ground is a worry for the latter. There's more than enough there to convince me to try and get Might Bite beat.
3.25 – Betway Hurdle
There really ought to be a dirty e/w bet against the favourite, Supasundae, here, but in truth I think the favourite is a good bet if he runs his race – and unless Cheltenham has taken a lot out of him, I don't see why he wouldn't – so I'm playing for the place only. With that, I'm not really interested in this as a betting race, although if you stuck a gun to my head, L'Ami Serge would be the one I'd plump for for the place, with a ground a bit of a worry for The Tent.
4.10 – Foxhunters
The usual cavalry charge, and I'll take two against the field – Grand Vision, who should really enjoy this test and his bold jumping, front running style should put him in good stead here, and Distime, who looks to have a bit of a look of one laid out for this. Twice placed over these fences (and an early faller last year), he looks to have been brought along by his shrewd trainer with this in mind. Won't mind the ground, and I'm rather kicking myself for not taking the bigger prices that were around earlier in the week. The general 14s will have to do.
4.50 – 2m Handicap Chase
Been through this a few times and nothing much is leaping out at me. The Gino Trail angle is there again, much as it was at Cheltenham, so if a back-to-lay is your thing, he could be the one. I was looking at Bentelimar, thinking he'd be a massive price as he's got form that ties him in with Gino Trail (nicely in at the weights today with that one) and has had a wind op, so could go a bit better. However, the market has found him as well and this is now looking like a no-bet race at the prices. If Bentelimar drifts back a bit, I could get interested. We will see.
Today's selection – Distime 4.10 Aintree
Good luck with all your bets today,