Aintree Day One

Photo by Fran (@Riosrider2)
 
Day one of the Aintree festival. Usually it pays to side with horses who have swerved Cheltenham, however this year we've had a slightly longer break between the two. Whatever happens over the next few days I'm sure we're in for a right treat, there are some great races to watch and a few tricky handicaps to try and solve. We of course then have the biggest puzzle of them all – The Grand National! My record in the big one just isnt great, the last time I won I think I was eight! I'm now 35!!! However, I have an antepost ticket on MON PARRAIN at 50-1 after he won for the blog on New Year's Day. I'm chuffed the ground will be on the better side for him and also chuffed that Sean Bowen rides. He has a great chance and I reckon he'll run a cracking race! I'll probably pick another couple but haven't made my mind up yet!
Here are my selections for Day One. Good luck with whatever you back and I hope you win!
 
Manifesto Novices Chase 1340
A small but distinct field and a few with obvious chances. The main one is VIBRATO VALTAT who should have been UN DE SCEAUX's main rival in the Arkle, but he never ran a true race. I'm not sure whether he will get this trip? JOSSES HILL has flattered to deceive this year and I don't think his jumping will hold up. I'm opting for CLARCAM (WON 5-1), he may also not get the trip but I prefer his chances with Ruby on board. He was put in his place in the Arkle too but he really caught my eye in the Fred Winter last year and was unlucky when falling. He has had a couple of solid runs this year and doesn't have either VAUTOUR or UN DE SCEAUX to overcome.
 
Betfred Juvenile Hurdle 1415
HARGAM will be a short priced favourite for this based on his third in the Triumph. The Nicholls pair really don't do it for me. I'm opting for INTENSE TANGO (unplaced). She struggled against her male counterparts last time but she comes here fresh and will enjoy the better ground. Her weight allowance may also support her speed at these weights and help her overcome her rivals this time. She looked a decent horse when putting PASS THE TIME and ANIFILET in their place at Doncaster.
 
Betfred Bowl Chase 1450
HOLYWELL (nb) (3rd – 5-2) was my tip for the Gold Cup and is my tip here. He ran a cracker at Cheltenham and it was a shame the ground swung to the soft side that day as I really thought he would win the race. SILVINIACO CONTI misfired that day and on this ground I can't see him reversing placings with my tip. MA FILLEULE is a tough mare and she will be there at the finish. HOLYWELL has the class, the jumping ability and the ground to beat all his rivals.
 
Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle 1525
JEZKI comes here with a real chance of giving the champ another victory in his swansong. ARCTIC FIRE has been ultra-consistent this year too and must have a decent chance. However, I have to opt for my old favourite ROCK ON RUBY (2nd 7-2) though. He missed the festival and will be fresh. Despite being 10 years old he can still mix it with the young guns. He has a good record here and produces good efforts on better ground. I think he'll battle up the finishing straight with the other two above and his heart will bring him out on top.
 
Crabbies Fox Hunters Chase 1605
Only one horse here for me. PACHA DU POLDER (nap) (2nd 7-1) is a horse I always followed and has made a brilliant start in this sphere. My selection improves so much on better ground and I'm expecting a big run tomorrow. He started out this year being beaten by TEAFORTHREE on soft ground and he then won easily on good ground at Ludlow. He's a nice mover and a smart jumper. He is closely matched with BIG FELLA THANKS on old form and I expect both of them to be fighting it out up the finish.
 
Betfred Red Rum Chase 1640
CLARET CLOAK will enjoy the better ground and ran well last time behind ULCK DU LIN at Ascot. He runs well fresh but 11st 12lbs is a lot to carry in this. Even a 5lb taken off by Sean Bowen may not be enough. BABY MIX fascinates me; he's been off for a while and was a smart hurdler on good ground. With this break to overcome and a return to form needed he may not do it, but he's well treated on his old form. I'm opting for TED VEALE (treble) (unplaced) he's down to his last winning mark of OR141, which he's won twice at. He has got a nice weight and has good form when the ground is better. He also has a strong form line through CLARCAM and I think he'll run a big race!
 
Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle 1715
The last race on day one and it's a cracker to try and solve! DALAWAN is smart yet disappointed last time behind CALL THE COPS, can he recapture his form? CALL THE COPS has been raised another 7lbs for that win and I think he's handicapped to the max now. LAC FONTANA could really improve for the extra distance amd is worth a saver! UNIQUE DE COTTE and my old favourite JOIN THE CLAN deserve praise and should run well. Now this is where I get silly! I have followed KATGARY (unplaced) all year based on his efforts last season and I was and still am convinced he's a smart horse. Good ground I'm sure is key and with a little bit of confidence back in him for winning in a lower class last time I think he'll run well. He is carrying a stone less than he did last time too. My advice here, ignore me, I'd go over the White Cliffs for this one!!
 
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Charlie Hall Chase

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The start of the National Hunt season- Hurrah!!!!

We finished the fault blog off last week with the final standings as follows :

Father 14 -16 Son

Profit –

Son £176.05

Father £130.64

Not a bad total from both of us I’m sure you will agree! We reset the scores on the doors now for the jumps season! Both my dad and I prefer the jumps so hopefully we will continue the recent run and get a few winners on the blog. I had a few near misses last week with three of my four all placed but my Dad produced another solid winner for the third week on the trot with DUNGANNON at Doncaster (13-2).

Here are today’s selections

TAQUIN DE SEUIL 1515 WETHERBY (NAP) – (2nd 100-30 = £2.08) got better as the season progressed last year including a solid performance when winning the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham. This step up in trip should suit and we will see if he can mix it with the big boys today. He had DOUBLE ROSS and WONDERFUL CHARM behind the festival and it looked like he needed the outing when the latter got his revenge at Newton Abbott last time. That run though could prove to be the deciding factor today against SILVINIACO CONTI. Any horse that can win at Cheltenham and Haydock has the stamina to win up the gruelling Wetherby finish. Looking forward to seeing him hopefully run well today!

GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1535 ASCOT (NB) – (unplaced = -£5.00) never really took to fences last year and flattered to deceive a lot. I’m willing to give him another go as he could be potentially very good. He has a very appealing chase mark in light of his hurdles exploits and he could use that to his advantage today. Let hope he fulfils some of the potential he has.

CLARET CLOAK 1420 ASCOT (TREBLE) – (2nd – 13-2 = £4.06) ground is the key to this horse and hopefully very little rain will have fallen by the off. He has 3 wins on good ground around this sort of distance but has yet to win a this level, he has the class for it though! He was beaten a nose by MANYRIVERSTOCROSS last November when giving him 5lbs, today he is albs better off and that could be a big factor. NEXT SENSATION ran very well last year but I feel a run is needed to get back to that level.

ON HIS OWN 1430 DOWN ROYAL – (unplaced = -£5.00) so near won me a huge chunk of money in last year’s Gold Cup. He ran a stormer that day and proved what a damn fine horse he is. He was a National favourite too a few times! I think that line of form is the best here to day and for me you an put a line through his last defeat to stablemate BOSTON BOB as he returned lame, there is the reason and excuse! I think on this yielding ground he will stay on up the finish and defeat his stablemate, with Ruby cursing his selection of rides! I hope anyway!

My Dad’s selection :

BOSTON BOB 1430 DOWN ROYAL (3rd 9-4 = £1.40)

DOUBLE ROSS 1515 WETHERBY (3rd 11-1 = £6.87)

ROALCO DE FARGES 1535 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)

LAZER BLAZER 1500 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)

Total Week One

Father – £1.73

Son -£3.86