Aintree Festival – Day One

After a profitable Cheltenham Festival, we’ve invited our friends at Talking Neigh Sense to preview each of the televised races for day one of the Aintree Festival and they’ve only gone and done it!

14:15 – Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle

This looks to be the two horse race we have all already seen at Cheltenham. Apples Jade was a horse we took a chance on at Cheltenham and she duly rewarded her backers with some healthy place money. Still reviving that valuable 7lbs she goes to Aintree to serve it up to Ivanovich Gorbatov again who stayed on better at Cheltenham.

Now we’ve watched that race time and time again and for us, you just can’t split them. Apples Jade did a lot of running up front on her own and still stayed on well enough, whilst Ivanovich Gorbatov had the perfect race with cover. Aintree is a quicker track to race on and there’s a furlong less this time round.

Footpad has to be worth a mention and could be a strong contender if he is rode up front this time around. He had a lot to do last time out but battled his way through into 3rd, by which time the front two were already away.

Taking all into consideration and without hopefully having to do a lot on her own out front this time, we’re on Apples Jade. Granted it is mainly for the value, but the drop back to 2 miles and the flatter track should just get her over the line in first place.

Selection – Apples Jade @ 4/1 with Sky Bet

14:50 – Betfred Bowl Chase 

What was once destined to see Gold Cup foes locking horns once more now seems a shadow of the spectacle it promised to be, with Vautour once more opting for a shorter trip and Don Cossack sent elsewhere. For those reasons there seems no better place to start than at the head of the market.

A day after Thistlecrack embedded his name in Cheltenham history for all the right reasons, Mr Tizzard saw fellow stable star Cue Card do the very same, but for all the wrong ones, after that agonising fall. Cruising through to lead 3 out, he looked destined to run a big race and the “Would he or Wouldn’t he?” question is one that is sure to be hotly debated for years to come. One thing that can be said for sure is that he looked ominous when making his move and it’s hard to deny that he looks the obvious winner of this contest.

We are however willing to take him on and for two reasons:

1) He has never fallen before and thus never had to come back from a fall.

2) He is too short.

Looking elsewhere there is only one horse that really takes our fancy. A horse we saw clawing back the lengths after falling off the back of the telly earlier on in that race to claim a respectable 3rd place. Yes it’s your man…….THE POLI! Currently trading at around 7/1 he looks a huge price, being a Course and Distance winner and proven on all ground. You’d be incredibly surprised to see him out of the places, which makes him a fantastic each way bet to nothing here.

Selection – Don Poli E/W @ 11/2 with Sky Bet

15:25 – Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle

Champion Hurdle winners have a mixed record in the Aintree Hurdle and Annie Power (4/7) will be the latest to attempt the famous double after a superlative performance 23 days ago. She put up a much better jumping performance at Cheltenham and if anything, the step up to 2m 4f is likely to suit. Mullins has announced his intention to go all out for the UK trainers title and the mare will be one for short priced doubles and trebles we’re sure. The race has a attracted a small field and doesn’t appeal much as a betting proposition in truth.

Despite one of the training performances of the week from Nicky Henderson with My Tent Or Yours (9/1), the bounce factor has to play on the mind and we’re not inclined to back him with stolen money. Victorious in this two years ago, The New One (10/1) is getting a bit long in the tooth now and we’re happy to swerve him also. Nichols Canyon (9/2) won at Aintree last year and put up a strong performance at Cheltenham but you’d be mightily disappointed if Annie Power couldn’t beat him in receipt of 7lbs.

Unoriginal, and you won’t get rich backing but we can’t look anywhere but Annie Power. Stick her in your doubles and trebles over the three days and be done with it.

Selection – Annie Power @ 1/2 with Sky Bet

16:05 – Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase

The Foxhunters is a race you have to love. Effectively this is a mini grand national for the amateur riders. It’s a chance for them to showcase their abilities with a view to looking to pick up any spare rides for the main event should they become available.

This years renewal had the potential to have an added interest should miss Pendleton have taken the ride on one of the leading Fancies Pacha Du Polder. However for those Pacha fans this may actually be a blessing in disguise following the confirmation of Mr Will Biddick taking over the reigns. Absolutely motoring up the hill at the festival with Pendleton on board you have to feel that with a more experienced rider on board, Nicholls looks to have a huge chance of picking up success.

Favourite backers will see this as one of the bankers of the week in the shape of On The Fringe. Looking to complete the Cheltenham/Aintree double for the second year running you can’t help but accept this horse is a class act.

In summary, this is a race where it is extremely difficult to look past the top two in the market and it is has the prospects of being one hell of a race between the two rivals. We will side with Pacha to reverse the placings of the race at Cheltenham following the change of jockey, and we’re sure would be a hugely popular winner.

Selection – Pacha Du Polder @ 3/1 with Sky Bet

16:40 – Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase

After waiting and waiting the odds compilers finally decided to make up the market for this race at roughly 4pm Wednesday…phenomenal. If we’re completely honest the horse we’ve been looking at since it’s declaration for this has come out a little unfavourably at the prices but not enough to put us off.

It would be of no surprise to see that horses under 11st seem to fare pretty well in this and enough so to skew our opinion a little to those further down the weights. Having said that the form of the Grand Annual can usually be held in pretty high regard and with Savello (4th in the GA) recently romping home in a class 2, it would be no surprise to see Solar Impulse and Dandridge draw away from the field once more here.

However the horse we like is one that missed Cheltenham all together in favour of this and that’s Fayette County. His bare form doesn’t necessarily read all that well but there’s a reason he is currently vying for favouritism for this and we think we know why. Earlier this season we saw him finish an extremely close 4th on his return, before pulling up next time at Ludlow when never looking at the races, if you pardon the pun. The race that really caught our eye was his run last time out when he really should have beat the winner who has gone on to frank that form, storming home again at Ludlow yesterday. Taking into account his very attractive mark and the fact we think there is definitely improvement to eek out, he is the one we will go with in this.

Selection – Fayette County @ 11/2 with Sky Bet