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!!
 
Advertisements

Saturday at Kempton

20130223-103413.jpg

With a couple of weeks to the Festival stables will be putting the final touches to their hopes. I’m not into ante-post betting so will just wait until the day before finally selecting my horses for each day. It’s a shame Newcastle was off today due to more inclement bloody weather. I can’t remember such a period of cold and wet weather before. I hope we have a few dry weeks up to the festival and get good racing ground. Remember though if that happens that the form book can go as most big races this year have been contested on soft or heavy ground. The ground is good at Kempton today which will help good old NACARAT in what may be his final appearance. I can’t back him today though on recent form.

Here are my selections for today :

OPENING BATSMEN 1550 KEMPTON (nap)(WON 12-1) ran well in defeat behind ROLLING ACES last time at Wincanton. He has taken well to his fences and is on the upgrade. He will prefer the better ground and is in receipt of an extra 6lbs today from ROLLING ACES, with that concession and better ground he has a great chance in my opinion. That said there are still some other potential winners in this race other than these two.

IRISH SAINT 1405 KEMPTON (nb)(WON 5-4) won well here on his British debut and then just seemed to get outpaced by ROLLING STAR last time out. Another who I think will benefit from the better ground and he should have too much for the others today.

GRANDIOSO 1440 KEMPTON (treble) – (WON 9-4) has been a bit of a revelation this year and has been progressing well. His run away success at Ludlow was impressive last time and he has every right to have a stab at this level. Paul Nicholls has a cracking record in the race too with six out of the kast seven winners including NATAL and HERECOMESTHETRUTH.

LAC FONTANA 1515 KEMPTON(3rd – 9-4) got run out of it abit over the final couple of hurdles last week at Newbury. Not saying he would have won bumthe never got the chance, possibly why he is back this week. Another one on better ground should run better, I think he will win easily.

FILBERT 1330 KEMPTON(4th – 13-2) had a successful introduction to fences at Ludlow and whilst off top weight he is probably least exposed of all these and open to further improvement.

HAND ON BACH 1625 KEMPTON (unplaced) has been running in some hot maiden and novice hurdles against the likes of PUFFIN BILLY and last week against LAC FONTANA and CHATTERBOX. He is pitched in here for his handicap debut and he could prove to be a good each way snip. The stable won this last year too.

HENRYVILLE 1700 KEMPTON(unplaced) finished third behind PUFFIN BILLY on his debut and then lost in a jumpers bumper. Hoping the form of the bumper behind Puffin Billy will hold up against these.

PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE 1435 FAIRYHOUSE(2nd – 8-11) this boy is a monsterof a horse and one I’ve always followed since Graham Wylie acquired him. He won this last year before injuring himself and being ruled out of the National. He should be too good for these and this will put him in good order for the big on in April.

There we are then, these are who my well earned shillings are on today. Lets hope there is a winner or two here. If you are having a flutter do so within your means and good luck!