Folks we are back with as Aintree takes centre stage ahead of the Randox Health Grand National on Saturday. We grabbed a place with Enjoy D’Allen (40/1) in the Irish Grand National on Monday.
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1.45 SSS SUPER ALLOYS MANIFESTO NOVICES CHASE (GRADE 1) 2M 3F
Emmet Mullins has done some superb placing with his horses this season and he looks to have a very strong chance of landing a Grade One here with Cheltenham victor THE SHUNTER.
This horse has really improved this season and has mixed it between hurdles and fences. Connections landed themselves a 100k bonus after the victory at Cheltenham as the horse had been successful at Kelso in the Morebattle Hurdle prior to that.
The handicapper has raised him to a mark of 153 and that in theory leaves him with only two pounds to find on Fusil Raffles who will likely head the market.
The Shunter got a cracking ride from Jordan Gainford at Cheltenham and will have Brian Hayes, fresh from Grade Two success on Easy Game in the plate this time around. He has already shortened in the market since declarations were announced and I can see him getting close to the head of the market.
The ground and track should be no issue as he travels strongly.
I can see him taking plenty of beating here and will hopefully get us off to a flyer.
2.20 DOOM BAR ANNIVERSARY FOUR YEAR OLD JUVENILE HURDLE (GRADE 1) 2M
Paul Nicholls looks to hold the ace in the pack as MONMIRAL looks to continue his progression here.
This horse is unbeaten in four starts, once in France and three times since joining the Ditcheat battalion. He has been very impressive in all of his starts and really caught the eye last time at Haydock when his jumping was immaculate and galloped away to win nicely.
The form of that race looks good now with Elham Valley who was well behind in third going on to finish placed in the Boodles at Cheltenham behind Jeff Kidder. Jeff Kidder franked that form even more at Fairyhouse last weekend when landing a Grade Two.
Monmiral looks to be something of a push button ride, travels strongly and then when he is asked to go and put the race to bed, he does so in a matter of strides.
He will be a short price here and that is justified. Will take the world of beating.
2.50 GRADE 1 BOWL CHASE 3M
This is an excellent renewal of this race and WAITING PATIENTLY looks to have the perfect opportunity to finally land a Grade One over a longer trip.
He has run some excellent races in defeat most notably when second to Frodon in the King George at Kempton over Christmas.
He was last seen finishing third to First Flow in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and I wasn’t thoroughly convinced going into that race that he would get the run of the race. He stuck at it well to finish third.
This time around I think the race will be run perfectly for him and Brian Hughes will be “Waiting Patiently” and arrive there going to two out and go on and win impressively.
In terms of his opponents he has the beating of Clan Des Obeaux from the King George and I wouldn’t be overly convinced that Clan Des Obeaux likes Aintree considering he was well beaten on both his runs here.
This is a strange decision from the Tiger Roll camp to come here and I think Native River had a tough race in the Gold Cup.
Waiting Patiently will arrive here fresh and with a strong pace assured he should be able to tick them off one by one.
Will be hard to beat.
3.25 AINTREE HURDLE 2M 4F (GRADE 1)
This race is all about MCFABULOUS for me as this intermediate trip really suits him having been a leading contender for the Stayers Hurdle earlier in the season.
He won a bumper at this meeting back in 2019 and his trainer has been adamant that a flat track is what he needs having failed to stay the extended trip when third in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
Much like Waiting Patiently in the previous race I think that McFabulous will get the race run to suit here and his stamina will be key in the final stages.
He got turned over at odds on in the “Game Spirit” hurdle at Fontwell last time and while he wasn’t at his best on that occasion I think he will have been freshened up since and must go close.
He really impressed me in the Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton when he seen off On The Blind Side and a reproduction of that form will be more than enough.
Will be extremely hard to beat here.
4.05 ROSE PATERSON RANDOX FOXHUNTERS OPEN HUNTERS CHASE 2M 5F
Our first look at the Grand National fences as the amateur jockeys get a taste of it and Barry O’Neill looks to have picked up a decent mount aboard SOME MAN.
This horse produced an exceptional performance at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day when he absolutely bolted up beating Complete Sizing by an ever widening 12 lengths. The ease of victory is what caught my eye on that occasion and the manner in how it was done.
He jumped for fun and galloped his rivals into submission and if he could get into a rhythm at the head of this field he could go very close.
In his early career this horse was held in high regard and was purchased at the Aintree Sale back in 2017 for 165k and spent some of his career with Paul Nicholls. He never really got going and was subsequently picked up by connections for 5,500 two years later.
He has been in good form in Point to Points winning at Tinahely beating Kruzlinhin who came out and won under rules this season.
These fences are all about luck but at times when you are jumping well at the head of affairs it could be the place to be.
Will be hard to keep out of the frame.
4.40 CLOSE BROTHERS RED RUM HANDICAP CHASE 2M (GRADE 3)
Henry De Bromhead and Jordan Gainford team up here with the 2019 winner of this race MOON OVER GERMANY.
This horse looks to have been laid out for this race having had a prep run when 4th of five behind Any Second Now at Navan on ground that was totally against him.
In terms of handicap marks he was victorious off 136 and if we take Jordan’s claim into the equation he will race off 138 this time around. There is no doubt he will appreciate the better ground and has run well off much higher marks than this in the past.
If we go back to Punchestown in 2019 he was fourth in a very competitive handicap off a mark of 147. He is getting on in years but he has been relatively lightly raced in recent times.
He was campaigned over hurdles for much of last season and ran well when sixth in the County Hurdle.
I think the double figure price may not last too long and he will be hard to keep out of the frame with luck in running.
5.15 GOFFS UK NICKLE COIN STANDARD MARES OPEN NATIONAL HUNT FLAT RACE 2M
One filly that has really took the jumps season by storm this year is the Pam Sly trained EILEENDOVER.
She has been really impressive in three starts ultimately winning by an aggregate distance of 51 ½ lengths.
The form of her victory in a listed contest at Market Rasen last time took a huge boost when the Willie Mullins trained Grangee landed a Grade Two at Leopardstown over Christmas and then ran well when finishing sixth to Sir Gerhard in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
Connections of this filly had been tempted by Cheltenham but I think they have taken the better route here and she looks like she will take plenty of beating.
She travels really well and has an electric turn of foot. It is going to take a monumental performance from one of the opposition to lower her colours.
She will hopefully finish the day on a high for us.