“Got any tips for the National mate?” – the question anyone with a known interest in horse racing will get at this time of the year. It really is a unique event and one that has mass appeal and you may argue is part of the culture in the UK & Ireland.
Before Saturday we have two days of quality action although some of the fields are a tad disappointing it has to be said, especially the first race on the card, the Manifesto Novices’ Chase. There has been a bit of rain and a little forecast tomorrow but I don’t think it will have a huge effect on the going, it should be nice jumping ground. I do fancy the chances of War Lord in the first who finished a decent 4th in the Arkle staying on at the business end and although he has had a good season over 2m he has won over this trip over hurdles and has always struck me as a horse who needs a bit further than the minimum trip. The rain, and any further showers, will assist his chances and in a weak renewal he can take advantage to win his first Grade 1.
I can’t see any bet in the Juvenile race or the Aintree Hurdle for that matter so am going to sit those out.
The Bowl is a race that has thrown up a number of surprises over the years. Often there is a fancied horse coming off the back of a good run in the Gold Cup but it is hard to back up here if you’ve had a hard race. The favourite Protektorat falls in to that category with an excellent 3rd but I question if he can back up here and I certainly don’t think 7/2 is big enough to find out. Conflated was running a good race in the Ryanair at Cheltenham before falling but again coming here off the back of that isn’t ideal and he’s plenty short enough. In between in the market we have the last two previous winners in Clan Des Obeaux and Kemboy and preference for me at the prices is Kemboy. He ran a cracker in the Savills Chase at Christmas in a tight finish before disappointing in the Irish Gold Cup but importantly he has been kept fresh for this and he easily beat Clan Des Obeaux in their previous meeting here so he likes the track. There’s a fair bit of pace on here but if he can get in to a rhythm on the front end he will be hard to beat and at the prices he’s the one I want to be on.
The Foxhunters is a race I enjoy and although the claims of Jett look very solid he’s very short. I’m actually going to have a few smaller bets on three in here I think are worth chancing in another race that has thrown up plenty of big priced winners in the past. The first is Myth Buster who has the assistance of Patrick Mullins who is an eye catching booking. He is one of the highest rated in the field and in good form after winning at Mussleburgh under rules and then a second in a point to point. He seems a big price to me in this field and worth backing. The second one is Reikers Island who has won his last two Hunter Chases under rules and ran ok in a PTP last time. He likes to race prominently and has the ability to win a race like this at a big price. Finally I cannot resist a small bet on Demain Des L’Aube at a monster price. He was a winner over 2 and a half miles for Henry de Bromhead and ran well for a long way at Carlisle last time. The drop back in trip should suit and if he can bowl out I think he can compete, complete and has a chance at huge odds.
We follow this with the Red Rum Chase, the Aintree version of the Grand Annual at Cheltenham with a fast and furious 2m over fences. I am backing two here as they are both decent prices. The first is Shakem Up’arry who I am convinced has a good handicap like this in him. He was a decent hurdler but Pauling had always said he was looking forward to seeing him over a fence although he has only managed one win this season off 131 at Haydock he has been sent off at short prices for all his runs. He was a little disappointing at Newbury last time but is fresh for this and with Brogans claim runs off 133 which is within his grasp and I think he can go close. The other I like is Elixir De Nutz who had had an excellent season until pulling up in the Grand Annual but the ground may have been a factor there and I’m willing to give him another chance. He’s a Grade 1 winning hurdler and he’s another who I think has a quality handicap within his reach.
1.45 – War Lord 11/4 2pts Win (bet365)
2.55 – Kemboy 11/2 2pts Win (Ladbrokes)
4.05 – Myth Buster 22/1 0.75pts EW (Ladbrokes 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6), Reikers Island 33/1 0.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6) & Demain Des L’Aube 100/1 0.25pts EW (SkyBet 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
4.40 – Shakeem Up’arry 18/1 0.75pts EW & Elixir De Nutz 20/1 0.75pts EW (both bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)